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

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John Wiley and Sons, May 18, 2010 - Law - 208 pages
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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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Contents

Why Canadians Live Common Law
3
Eyes Wide Open Due Diligence
11
Relationship Building
17
Rights and Responsibilities to Each Other
33
What about Income and Expenses?
40
When Does Cohabitation End?
46
What Happens if We Have Children Who Need Financial
52
What Happens to Property We Acquired While Together?
61
Why Do You Need a Lawyer?
119
Signed Sealed and Delivered
125
Obtain Independent Legal Advice
128
Some Tips for Negotiating and Drafting Cohabitation
141
Transgendering
147
Separation Agreement with Former Spouse if this Applies
153
Support
161
Certificate of Independent Legal Advice
172

The Legal Consequences of Living Common Law
67
Support
73
Having The Conversation
105
What if Youre Already Living Together?
113
Our Cohabitation Agreement Schedules A and B
178
Consent for Disclosure of Criminal History
185
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

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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