Cracking Open Cohabitation Agreements
Importance of Cohabitation Agreements
Under the still relatively new British Columbia Family Law Act, two people who live together in a marriage-like relationship for two years are considered to be spouses under the law. This grants them the same rights and imposes the same obligations as couples who have married. This can be problematic in cities such as Vancouver where the high-cost of living often results in couples moving in without intending to have a serious, “marriage-like” commitment.
Avoiding Potential Litigation
One way to avoid potential litigation is to sign a cohabitation agreement which is similar to a prenuptial agreement but does not require a marriage. However, cohabitation agreements can be set aside, and here are two of the most common reasons why an agreement will be set aside.
Two Ways Cohabitation Agreements Can Fail
1) Lack of Independent Legal Advice – When signing a cohabitation agreement, it’s important for both parties to each consult with a lawyer privately to ensure that they understand the rights that they may be foregoing. The Family Law Act has a specific regime in place for property division and cohabitation agreements often opt-out of this regime.
2) Lack of Financial Disclosure – A binding cohabitation agreement requires both parties to make full and accurate financial disclosure. Under the family law act, there is a presumption of equal division family property and it is important that both parties be fully aware of the other’s financial assets and liabilities before signing an agreement. If one party is found to have hidden or concealed their assets, the agreement can be set aside.
Related Cohabitation & BC Family Law Posts
- 3 Common Types of Agreements in BC Family Law
- BC Court of Appeal Considers Spouses Who Keep Finances Separate
- Cohabitation Agreements in Wills Variation Claims
Contact our Vancouver Law Firm
If you have questions regarding the creation or the enforceability of a cohabitation, prenuptial, or marriage agreement, contact the Kushner Law Group today at 604-629-0432 to schedule consultation.