Cohabitation & Marriage
Cohabitation and marriage are two types of relationships that individuals can choose to enter into. While they share some similarities, there are also important differences in terms of legal rights and responsibilities in Ontario.
Marriage is a legally recognized union between two people that comes with a set of legal rights and responsibilities. .On the other hand, cohabitation refers to living together as a couple without being married. Cohabiting couples do not have all the same legal rights and protections as married couples in Ontario. Cohabiting couples may still have some legal protections, such as the ability to seek a court order for support or property claims on the basis of a trust claim, but these rights are not as clear-cut as they are for married couples.
To address this lack of legal protection, some cohabitating couples choose to enter into a cohabitation agreement. In case of separation, this contract outlines the couple’s rights and responsibilities. Cohabitation agreements can cover a range of issues, such as property division, spousal support, and financial obligations.
To be legally binding, an agreement must be in writing, signed by both parties and witnessed. Both parties should also receive independent legal advice before signing the agreement, to ensure that they fully understand its implications. Couples can enter into cohabitation agreements at any time during the relationship. However, it is generally advisable to do so early on, before acquiring significant assets.
It is worth noting that while cohabitation agreements can provide some legal protections, they are not foolproof. Courts may still set aside an agreement if it is deemed unfair or if one party did not fully understand its implications when signing. For this reason, it is essential to seek legal advice from a qualified lawyer in Ontario to ensure that the agreement is legally valid and enforceable.
In conclusion, marriage and cohabitation are two types of relationships that individuals can choose to enter into in Ontario. While marriage comes with a range of legal rights and responsibilities, cohabiting couples do not have the same legal protections unless they enter into a cohabitation agreement. If you are considering marriage or cohabitation in Ontario, it is important to understand the legal implications and seek legal advice to protect your interests. Our lawyers at Scharff Nyland Chambers would be happy to speak with you further about how a marriage or cohabitation agreement may assist you.