Co-habitation AgreementsIf you have been living together for a while and plan to continue, or if you are about to be married, we suggest you consider talking to your partner about assets and debts and your expectations so that the two of you can determine if you and your partner have the same understandings and goals and what will happen when one person passes away or you separate for any reason.
These discussions and agreements can help you manage your assets and debts while you are together and deal with them in the difficult time following the death of one partner or the end of your relationship.
Remember after two years of living together, common law couples now have a right to claim an interest in assets-- property and financial -- owned by their partner, in addition to spousal and child support. Discussions and agreements can avoid a great deal of stress, uncertainty, and financial costs of litigation in the future at a time when you usually least able to deal with the issues that arise.
If you have not prepared in advance and are not in an amicable or healthy frame of mind at the time of the separation, the cost in terms of legal fees, pain and stress can be very high. Emotional distress, including anger and depression, can distort and impair your ability to be rational and makes decision-making extremely difficult.
Learning about the law, each other’s understanding and expectations about how assets, debts and income should be handled, and then making your agreements while you are clear headed and amicable contributes to healthy relationships and clearer choices.