Cohabitation & Separation Agreements

What is a Separation Agreement?

A separation agreement is a legally binding contract between partners who are either married or in a common-law relationship and have decided to live apart. It outlines the terms and conditions that govern how they will address various aspects of their separation, including division of assets, child decision making responsibility and support, spousal support, and other relevant matters. This agreement serves as a comprehensive roadmap for the rights and responsibilities of each party during the separation period. It’s important to note that a separation agreement does not grant a divorce; it is a separate legal document focused on resolving issues related to the separation itself. By establishing clear guidelines and expectations, a separation agreement can help facilitate a smoother transition and provide clarity for both parties involved.

What is a cohabitation agreement in Ontario?

A cohabitation agreement in Ontario is a legal contract available to unmarried couples, including common-law spouses, who plan to live together or are already cohabiting. Under Ontario law, this agreement allows couples to establish a comprehensive framework for their rights, responsibilities, and obligations within their relationship. A cohabitation agreement covers various aspects, such as property division, financial matters, child decision making responsibility and support, and other relevant provisions. It serves as a proactive measure to address potential disputes and uncertainties that may arise during the relationship or in the event of separation. By creating a cohabitation agreement, couples can define their individual rights and obligations, ensuring clarity and security for both partners involved in the relationship.

If you and your spouse are currently living together, or are about to, you may consider entering into a cohabitation agreement with one another.

Cohabitation & Separation Agreements allow couples to address the issues that may arise during the breakdown of a relationship, including:

  • Ownership in or division of property
  • Support obligations
  • Decisions regarding children

Every client is different. Determining our clients’ goals and interests is always our starting point for drafting an agreement. Your agreement can be as detailed as you want it to be. For example, you can determine what days each parent will spend with the children, and how all property is to be divided.

A properly drafted agreement allows the parties to retain control over major decisions in their lives during this difficult time. If parties cannot agree on these issues, a court may decide the issues on behalf of the parties. This can result in an arrangement that satisfies neither party.

While parties may come to an agreement on their own, enlisting a lawyer’s services in the preparation of a separation agreement or cohabitation agreement can protect the agreement from legal challenge in the event of a dispute. At Russell Alexander Family Lawyers, our lawyers and law clerks work with you to create an agreement that suits your individual needs.

We start by obtaining full disclosure from both parties and ascertaining your goals. We keep your goals and your legal rights at the forefront while negotiating the terms of your agreement with the other party. Once all the terms have been agreed upon, our firm will draft your agreement and provide it to you for your review. If changes are required, we revise the agreement and provide it to you and the other party to sign.

You should always obtain independent legal advice before signing any contract, including a separation agreement or cohabitation agreement. A written agreement becomes legally binding once it has been signed by both parties, witnessed, signed by the witnesses, and dated.