Do We Need a Cohabitation Agreement: Understanding How a Legal Contract Can Strengthen Your Life Together

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Overview

You're committed, you're moving in together and you're blending your households. But are you forgetting something?

Many Canadians find themselves in common-law relationships and think that they aren't any different from a legal marriage. It can be a shock to find out that, when the going gets tough, certain rights under the law-not to mention financial obligations-do or do not apply. For instance, if one common-law partner becomes seriously ill or passes away, will the other be ...

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Overview

You're committed, you're moving in together and you're blending your households. But are you forgetting something?

Many Canadians find themselves in common-law relationships and think that they aren't any different from a legal marriage. It can be a shock to find out that, when the going gets tough, certain rights under the law-not to mention financial obligations-do or do not apply. For instance, if one common-law partner becomes seriously ill or passes away, will the other be able to access joint bank accounts? Their shared home? What happens if there is no will? And what about the kids?

These are some of the many serious questions that couples need to consider before sharing their lives, all of which can be addressed in a cohabitation agreement. A cohabitation agreement allows a couple to make sure their partner and any children are taken care of in times of need or crisis; that ownership in properties or financial resources are clear, combined, separated or protected. Most of all, these contracts allow for the peace of mind that comes with having a game plan in place should the relationship end due to death or separation.

Take the advice of Michael Cochrane, a lawyer with more than 30 years of experience, and consider the numerous issues that can affect a common-law relationship. Do We Need a Cohabitation Agreement? is written in clear, nontechnical language and includes real-life examples based on Canadian cases. Cochrane addresses critical issues such as wills and estates, powers of attorney, the special concerns of step-families and same-sex couples, and how to have this discussion with your partner. It will also help you work in a cost-effective way with a lawyer should you decide that an agreement will benefit your relationship.

This is your future together. Get it right from the very beginning.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470737507
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/26/2010
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

MICHAEL G. COCHRANE, LL.B., has been practicing law in Ontario for 30 years and is a partner with the firm Ricketts, Harris LLP. He is the author of a number of books including Surviving Your Divorce: A Guide to Canadian Family Law; Do We Need A Marriage Contract? Understanding How a Legal Agreement Can Strengthen Your Life Together ; Family Law in Ontario: A Practical Guide for Lawyers and Law Clerks; and Strictly Legal: Things You Absolutely Need to Know about Canadian Law. Mr. Cochrane has hosted Strictly Legal, a legal affairs show on BNN and has appeared as a guest legal expert on many radio and TV programs. He writes a regular column for Zoomer magazine and speaks frequently on a variety of legal topics to average Canadians. Visit his website www.michaelcochrane.ca or www.rickettsharris.com.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix

Caution about Legal Information xi

Chapter 1 Is this book for you? 1

A Real-and Revealing-Case 1

Why Canadians Live Common Law 3

I reject the idea of marriage on principle 4

I want to give the relationship a trial run before deciding on marriage 4

I experienced a bad divorce in the past and just want to avoid the possibility of that happening again 5

I cannot get married because there is a legal impediment to doing so 5

If I marry, I will lose a benefit that I need 5

Things are going fine-why would I rock the boat? 6

Terminology 6

How Many Canadians Live Common Law? 8

Chapter 2 Eyes Wide Open: Due Diligence and Relationship Building 11

Why Due Diligence? 11

Your Partner's Health 12

Criminal Problems 14

Financial Problems 15

Relationship Building 17

What Makes for a Mature Relationship? 18

Have Realistic Expectations 23

Have Good Problem-Solving Skills 28

Ten Elements of Good Problem Solving 28

Chapter 3 Rights and Responsibilities to Each Other While Living Together 33

When Does Cohabitation Begin? 33

What about Having Children? 36

What about Property? 40

What about Income and Expenses? 40

What about Medical/Dental Health Benefits? 41

What about Income Tax Returns? 42

What about Wills and Powers of Attorney? 42

Chapter 4 The Legal Consequences of Living Common Law: Rights and Responsibilities if You Separate 45

When Does Cohabitation End? 46

What Happens if We Have Children and Separate? 49

What Happens if We Have Children Who Need Financial Support? 52

What Happens to Property We Owned before We Began Living together? 56

What Happens to Property We Acquired While Together? 61

What if One of Us Needs Financial Support After Separation? 62

What if We Move While Living Common Law? 65

Are There Time Limits for Bringing a Claim? 65

Chapter 5 The Legal Consequences of Living Common Law 67

Rights and Responsibilities if One of You Dies, Is Injured or Becomes Ill 67

Some Common Scenarios 67

Joint Property 68

Joint Accounts 68

Having a Will and Not Having a Will 70

Powers of Attorney for Personal Care and Property 72

Support 73

Chapter 6 Creating Your Own Set of Rights and Obligations 75

An Overview of a Cohabitation Agreement 75

Providing for Children 76

Biological Children of the Couple 77

A Specific Formula for Childcare When a Career Change Arrives 79

Spousal Support, Releases, and Sunset Clauses 79

Providing for Your Support 80

Providing for Death, Injury, or Illness 84

What about Your Property? 87

Sunset Provisions and Termination Clauses 94

Managing Household Budgets and Other Matters 94

What if We Get Married After Signing a Cohabitation Agreement? 96

Conditional Gifts from Third Parties 97

Contracts Made Outside Ontario 97

Minors and the Mentally Incapable 98

Breakup to Makeup: Reconciliation 98

Enforcement of the Cohabitation Agreement 99

Dispute Resolution 100

Chapter 7 Having "The Conversation" 105

The "Do's" 106

Do Have a Purpose and Make a Plan 106

Do Have an Answer to the Question, "Why do we Need a Cohabitation Agreement?" 107

Do Give Yourself Enough Time 107

Do Use the Conversation as an Opportunity to Discuss the Need for Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Insurance 108

Do Keep It Simple 109

Do Be Fair and Respectful 109

The "Don'ts" 110

Don't Present Your Partner with a Draft Contract 110

Don't Mention Lawyers 111

Don't Rush the Discussion 111

Don't Present a One-Sided Option 111

Don't Blame It on Other People 112

What if You're Already Living Together? 113

Chapter 8 The Role of Your Lawyer 117

Why Do People Fear Hiring a Lawyer? 117

Cost 118

Control 118

Why Do You Need a Lawyer? 119

Why Do You Need a Lawyer with Family Law Experience? 120

Choosing Your Lawyer and Managing the Relationship 121

Buying Some Advice, but Not Independent Legal Advice 123

Using a Mediator 123

Chapter 9 Signed, Sealed, and Delivered 125

The Three "Must-do's" 125

1 The agreement must be in writing 125

2 Both parties to the contract must sign it 126

3 Signature must be witnessed 127

Obtain Independent Legal Advice 128

Doing It Yourself 130

How to Ruin Your Cohabitation Agreement 130

Some Tips for Negotiating and Drafting Cohabitation Agreements 141

Chapter 10 Same-Sex Couples 145

Getting married is the Easy Part 145

Sperm Donation 146

Same-Sex Families, Adoption, and Sperm Donors 146

Transgendering 147

Chapter 11 Let's Look at an Annotated Cohabitation Agreement 149

Cohabitation Agreement 150

Separation Agreement with Former Spouse (if this Applies) 153

Ownership and Division of Property 153

Support 161

Release of Spouse Support 162

Certificate of Independent Legal Advice 172

Appendices 175

Appendix A My Cohabitation Agreement Worksheet - What I Own and What I Owe 176

Appendix B Our Cohabitation Agreement Schedules A and B 178

Appendix C Some Considerations and Key Document Checklist 180

Appendix D Table of Common-Law Rights and Responsibilities 183

Appendix E Consent for Disclosure of Criminal History Information 185

Appendix F Permission to Conduct Credit References 187

Index 189

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    Sophia

    Ran over to him amd pulled of his shirt. He went behind her and took off her bra. They took off their pants. They jumped in bed. She kissed his forhead her big bo.obs in his face. He kisses kisses kisses them. She goes down her lips traveling down to his private space. She kissed his dick. He went down d down and kissed jer butt. And inside her crack. Just hardly though. As she kissed his dick je went down to her space and kisssed it. Whole. He stopped and stuck his finger in her hole. Thy went into a normal position. They kissed on the lips. He squeezed her bo.obs. his dick was in her hole. They widened their legs and with one hand sophie squuezed their privates and with the other she stroked his side. He let go of one of her bo.obs and stroked her other side. They both smiled and rolloed around their toungs playing.

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