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Moving in Together or Getting Married in Prince George?

Consider a Co-Habitation Agreement

Everyone expects they will need a lawyer in the event of separation or divorce. Surprisingly, few people are aware of their rights and obligations that arise from moving in together. A consultation with a lawyer can clarify things so that you know what to expect in the future. Putting a Cohabitation Agreement together can clarify expectations and entitlements. Having a Cohabitation Agreement can simplify things in the event that a separation occurs in the future.

The Law surrounding marital relationships is complicated. Once you start living together, some legal rights and obligations can arise very quickly, particularly regarding spousal support and child support for stepchildren. If you marry, you are governed by the Family Law Act. If you live together for more than two years, the Law will treat your relationship very much the same as married.

Many people are uncomfortable with the government’s characterization of their relationship in this regard. Some people never intended to support someone else or be considered the "same as married". Some people never intended to share all their assets. Most people never intended to become responsible for their partner’s debts.

Decades ago, couples often married young and had few, if any assets starting out. Now, many people wait until later in life to move in together or are starting second relationships. As a result, it is much more likely that they will have property and debts. Whether they are Millennials earning remarkable incomes or older couples with children and property, it can be important to clarify expectations instead of letting the government decide for both of you.

Fortunately, the government permits people to contract out of this legislation by entering into a Cohabitation Agreement, Prenuptial Agreement or Marriage Agreement. This is the way to avoid may of the obligations imposed on people pursuant to the new Law. It will also help couples clearly define their expectations from the outset of the relationship. Healthy discussion and consensus can erase surprises later on.

Ignorance of the law is not a valid position in Court. Managing risk is always financially prudent. At the very least, meet with a family lawyer in Prince George to discuss how you may be impacted by the new law and whether an Agreement is advisable for your circumstances.

If you are moving in together or getting married in Prince George, consider talking to a Family Lawyer. Tracy L Clark at TLC Family Law Practice has extensive experience in family law and creating agreements for couples moving in together or getting married.

Crista-lea Kirk