Calgary & Strathmore Family Lawyers Advising on Cohabitation Agreements

A “cohabitation agreement” is a contract that helps common-law (adult interdependent) couples protect themselves financially in the event of a separation. It’s common for partners not to determine what will happen to their finances during cohabitation, which can lead to problems should things go south. For example, if one person started planning for retirement while the other person did not, there could be an imbalance of the future earning potential. A cohabitation agreement can help address this issue, and many others, by determining who will pay for what if cohabitation ends in separation.

At Getz Collins and Associates, our experienced family lawyers draft comprehensive, proactive cohabitation agreements for common-law couples across Alberta looking to secure their rights and obligations in case the relationship ends. We also review existing agreements to protect our clients’ interests and ensure any contract signed meets their families’ unique needs.

Cohabitation Agreements for Common-Law Partners in Alberta

Cohabitation agreements are often modelled after marriage contracts or prenuptial agreements, but they don’t have to be. There are enough differences between adult interdependent partners and married couples that cohabitation agreements can be tailored to cohabitants’ needs. The rules will depend on the situation, but cohabitants might want to consider how they will co-parent children if cohabitation ends, whether one partner is still supporting another financially after separation, and who will keep what property in their possession.

Adult Interdependent Partners (AIP) Under the Family Property Act

In many cohabitation agreements, common-law couples (known as “adult interdependent partners” in Alberta) determine how their property will be divided if cohabitation ends. This can include who keeps what debt or which partner receives an increased value of a home after a breakup. Although there are certain rules for dividing up property under the Family Property Act, for adult interdependent partners, should the parties not wish to follow those rules, they need to have an agreement in place.

Cohabitation agreements can also address issues arising during cohabitation, such as division of roles, household maintenance and other cohabitation responsibilities.

Independent Legal Advice & Cohabitation Agreements

If common-law/adult interdependent partners decide to change their cohabitation agreement, they must put it in writing, and both cohabitants must sign the new version of the contract. Additionally, anytime a cohabitation agreement is created or changed, each person should get independent legal advice about what they are signing.

Before cohabiting with a partner, individuals should seek legal advice from a family lawyer if they are unsure how cohabitation will affect their future finances. The family law team at Getz Collins and Associates offers unbundled, stand-alone services, including reviewing cohabitation agreements and advising clients on the potential impacts on their financial, property, and parenting rights.

Getz Collins and Associates Create Proactive Cohabitation Agreements for Common-Law Couples Across Alberta

Getz Collins and Associates understands the unique nature of a common-law (adult interdependent) relationship. Our skilled family and divorce lawyers create innovative cohabitation agreements that act as a roadmap and avoid conflict as much as possible in the event of a relationship breakdown. We offer flexible services and cost-effective fee arrangements to common-law couples across Alberta that exceed our clients’ expectations.

Proudly serving clients across Alberta, Getz Collins and Associates has convenient locations in Calgary and Strathmore. Our family law team assists clients in numerous communities, including Airdrie, Cochrane, Okotoks, Drumheller, Chestermere, Hussar, and all surrounding areas. To schedule a confidential consultation, please call us at 587-391-5600 or reach out online.