Cohabitation Agreements are entered into by couples living in marriage like relationships. Marriage Agreements fall into two types: Prenuptial Agreements and Postnuptial Agreements. Prenuptial Agreements are entered into by couples planning on marrying on a date in the immediate future. Postnuptial or Postmarital Agreements are entered into after a couple gets married and has entered into a civil union. All of these agreements can be entered into between same-sex gender couples or opposite-sex gender couples. Marla Gilsig, our Cohabitation, Prenuptial and Postnuptial Lawyer, routinely negotiates settlements and drafts family law agreements.
Each party should obtain independent legal advice concerning the contents of the Cohabitation Agreement or Marriage agreement before they sign the agreement, otherwise the agreement may be set aside by the court. In British Columbia, there has never been a better time to enter into a Cohabitation Agreement because of our new legislation, the British Columbia Family Law Act.
Agreements made early in a relationship are often predominantly concerned with resolving the issues that might arise should the relationship end. People make agreements at the beginning of or during a relationship for many different reasons, such as:
- to decide how to share property during the relationship;
- to decide how to divide property if the relationship ends;
- to determine how to treat inheritances received before the relationship or anticipated at some future date;
- to address questions about custody, access, and support (for example, some agreements relate to complicated arrangements for having a child);
- to set out the reasons for the arrangements they have made and to record intentions concerning the respective roles and expectations of the parties during the relationship (such as whether both will pursue careers, or whether it is anticipated that they will have children and, if so, what is to occur in such a situation);
- to describe a marriage-like relationship, if the agreement is being used as a substitute for the rights and obligations that accompany marriage;
- to address the issues arising on the death of a party, in order, for example, to preserve inheritances for children of a previous relationship.