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Important Provisions In An Ontario Cohabitation Contract


The reasons Canadians decide to live together in a romantic relationship without getting married vary widely. However, many do not realize how federal and provincial family laws affect their rights. While cohabitating and unmarried, you essentially have the relationship of housemates. Once you have lived together for three years, you attain the status of common law spouses. With either arrangement, a breakdown of the relationship can lead to unintended results. For this reason, lawmakers included provisions regarding cohabitation agreements in the Ontario Family Law Act. By preparing the appropriate paperwork, you can protect your interests and dictate the details of your relationship.

Because you are addressing important rights through a cohabitation contract, it is critical to get advice and counsel from a knowledgeable Mississauga family lawyer. You should also be aware of the typical provisions that are included in these agreements.

Nature and Division of Property

 There are two key issues that you should consider with respect to ownership of assets between you and your partner:

  1. Whether property is separately owned by one of you, such as gifts, inheritances, and assets you owned prior to the relationship; and,
  2. How to divide the items that you share equally, including both real estate and personal property.

You can cover these two factors in a cohabitation agreement, enabling you to reduce disputes in the event of a breakup.

Shared Residences

 Aside from the nature and division of real estate, there is also the issue of which party – if any – will be allowed to remain in the home that you share. For parents with children, there may be a reason for one party to continue to live in the residence for purposes of school, friends, and community. You should include these provisions in a cohabitation agreement when considering how to handle property division.


Couples who live together do not have the right to alimony, but it is a wise provision to include when preparing a cohabitation agreement. You can include terms regarding the amount, duration, and whether the amounts are lump sum or monthly payments. This arrangement may be appropriate when one party contributes significantly to the family and household while the other goes to school.

 Children in Cohabitation Agreements 

There is one topic that comes up often between cohabiting parents, so it deserves clarification. Parents are prohibited from including provisions regarding the right to decision-making responsibilities and parenting time with respect to children. Federal and provincial laws apply to these matters.

 Discuss Cohabitation Contracts with an Experienced Mississauga, ON Family Lawyer

Zagazeta Garcia Lawyers LLP is prepared to advise you on options, and we can assist with drafting, reviewing, and negotiating a cohabitation agreement. Our team is also ready to help with modifying paperwork or enforcing the contract as necessary. For additional information, please contact us at 905-232-0398 or go online to schedule a free consultation. Our firm serves clients in Mississauga, Brampton and the Peel Region in a wide range of family law matters, and we look forward to hearing from you.



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