Marriage Agreements

Cohabitation Agreements & Marriage Agreements

Resolve your divorce
without going to court.

Marriage Agreements are contracts between individuals which are entered into before a couple marries, or shortly after they marry. These agreements are intended for couples who wish to formalize in writing how they want to deal with certain issues, including debt, cash and property, either during the marriage or in the event of a marriage breakdown.

 

Cohabitation Agreements are contracts between non-married couples who plan to live together or already live together. In 2013 the Family Law Act came into effect in British Columbia, providing that couples living together in a marriage-like relationship (“common law”) for 2 years have the same property rights as married couples.  These agreements are intended for couples who wish to formalize in writing how they want to deal with certain issues, including debt, cash and property, either during their cohabitation or in the event of a relationship breakdown.

 

Marriage and Cohabitation Agreements are useful for couples where:

 

  • one spouse has substantial property or debt going into the marriage which the couple wishes to keep separate in the event of a marriage breakdown;

  • one spouse is expected to acquire substantial property during the marriage (such as an inheritance, gift, court award, and significant draws from a business) and the couple wishes to ensure the property is kept separate in the event of a marriage breakdown;

  • there are children from a previous marriage or relationship and the parent wishes to preserve assets for those children;

  • one or both has experienced a difficult separation from another marriage or relationship and the couple wishes to clearly set out their intentions in the event of a marriage breakdown.

Separation Agreements

Work with a neutral third party to reach an agreement outside of court.

When a married or common-law couple decide they no longer want to be in a relationship, they “separate.” Separation Agreements are contracts that formalize in writing the agreement between individuals regarding how legal issues are dealt with when a marriage or common law relationship ends.  These issues include legal obligations and rights relating to child and spousal support, parenting arrangements and decisions regarding children, and how a couple’s assets and debts will be divided. It is important to obtain advice from a lawyer soon after the separation or when thinking of a separation.