Cohabitation Agreement in British Columbia: What You Need to Know

Cohabitation, or living together in a romantic relationship without being married, has become increasingly common in British Columbia. While it has many benefits, such as sharing living expenses and creating a stable environment for children, it can also come with legal and financial risks.

To protect yourself and your partner, it is important to have a cohabitation agreement in place. A cohabitation agreement is a legal document that outlines the rights and obligations of each partner in the event of a separation or death. It covers issues such as property division, spousal support, and child custody.

In British Columbia, a cohabitation agreement is governed by the Family Law Act. To be valid, it must be in writing, signed by both partners, and witnessed by a third party. It is important to note that a cohabitation agreement cannot be used to waive a person`s right to child support, as it is the child`s right, not the parent`s.

A cohabitation agreement should be tailored to your specific needs and circumstances. It should cover all aspects of your relationship, including:

– Property division: How will property acquired during the relationship be divided in the event of a separation? Will each partner keep what they brought into the relationship, or will it be split evenly?

– Spousal support: Will either partner be entitled to spousal support in the event of a separation? If so, how much and for how long?

– Child custody and support: If you have children together, how will custody and support be determined in the event of a separation? Will one partner have primary custody, or will it be shared? How much child support will be paid?

It is important to review and update your cohabitation agreement as your circumstances change. For example, if you have a child together or purchase property, you may need to amend the agreement to reflect these changes.

In conclusion, a cohabitation agreement is an important tool for protecting your legal and financial interests when living together with a partner in British Columbia. It can help you avoid costly and stressful legal battles in the event of a separation or death. If you are considering cohabitation, it is advisable to speak to a lawyer who can guide you through the process of creating a cohabitation agreement that works for you.