Cohabitation Agreement Bc Law

Cohabitation Agreement BC Law: Everything You Need to Know

In British Columbia, the Family Law Act acknowledges that couples who are living together in a marriage-like relationship, also known as cohabitation, have certain rights and responsibilities. However, the law does not provide the same legal protections as marriage. That is why a cohabitation agreement, also known as a domestic agreement, can be important for protecting your rights and assets.

What is a Cohabitation Agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is a legally binding contract between two parties who are in a relationship but not married. It outlines the rights and responsibilities of each party during the relationship and in the event of a separation. The agreement can cover a wide range of issues, including:

– Property division: who owns what property during the relationship and how it will be divided in the event of a separation.

– Support payments: if one partner is financially dependent on the other, the agreement can outline how much support will be paid in the event of a separation.

– Debts: who is responsible for paying any debts accrued during the relationship.

– Parental responsibilities: if the couple has children, the agreement can outline each party`s responsibilities for caring for and supporting the children.

Why Do You Need a Cohabitation Agreement?

One of the main reasons for creating a cohabitation agreement is to protect your assets. In the absence of a cohabitation agreement, the Family Law Act dictates that assets acquired during the relationship will be divided equally in the event of a separation. This includes property, investments, and any other assets acquired during the relationship.

However, with a cohabitation agreement, you can specify which assets are considered separate property and which are considered marital property. For example, if you own a home before entering the relationship, you may want to specify that the home remains your separate property and is not subject to division in the event of a separation.

Another reason to consider a cohabitation agreement is to clarify each party`s rights and responsibilities. This can include issues such as household chores, financial contributions, and decision-making responsibilities.

How to Create a Cohabitation Agreement?

To create a cohabitation agreement, both parties must fully disclose their assets, debts, and income. Each party should seek independent legal advice to ensure that the agreement is fair and reasonable. The agreement must also be in writing and signed by both parties.

It is important to note that a cohabitation agreement is not set in stone. If circumstances change, such as the birth of a child or a significant change in income, the agreement can be renegotiated.

Conclusion

A cohabitation agreement can provide peace of mind and protect your rights and assets in the event of a separation. If you are in a cohabiting relationship, it is essential to seek legal advice to understand your rights and responsibilities under BC law. A cohabitation agreement can provide clarity and ensure that both parties are on the same page.