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Marriage Contracts and Cohabitation Agreements

Marriage Contract

A Marriage Contract is an agreement between two people getting married, or who are already married, that sets out their rights and obligations during their marriage, if they should separate, or if one party should die. The contract, with some exceptions, can change the law governing married couples found in the Divorce Act, Family Law Act and common law, to suit the needs and wishes of the parties. 

Cohabitation Agreement

A Cohabitation Agreement is the same as a marriage contract except the parties are not presently married. A cohabitation agreement would also be the name of an agreement for a couple intending to live in a common-law relationship. 
 
Anyone who wants different rights than those rights outlined in the Family Law Act and the Divorce Act should consider having a marriage contract or cohabitation agreement.  

Reasons to have a Contract/ Agreement

  • anyone who does not wish to share their growth of assets during the course of the marriage; 
  • somebody who wishes to ensure that s/he will not be required to pay spousal support in the event that the relationship dissolves; 
  • a person who brings a property into the marriage (e.g. a home, a cottage) and wants to ensure that entire value of this property is not shared in the event the marriage does not last.