Live common law and protect your rights and assets. Axess Law’s family lawyers prepare domestic contracts for every situation.
Regardless of how strong your relationship is now, the day may come when you need your spousal rights in writing. Cohabitate with confidence with Axess Law’s affordable domestic agreements or marriage contracts. If you separate, our lawyers in Toronto area and Ottawa write domestic agreements, with or without parenting plans (subject to court approval). If your differences are irreconcilable after you marry, we file divorce applications and ask the court for spousal support.
Let’s start with living together in a same-sex relationship in Ontario.
Ontario family law treats same-sex couples the same as opposite-sex couples. So does Axess Law.
Our family lawyers tailor domestic contracts to your relationship needs. We listen to your concerns and suggest how to make living together or splitting up more amicable. We file contracts in court when appropriate and give you independent legal advice for Ontario to minimize conflicts of interest.
Make a Same-Sex Cohabitation Agreement
Living common law is similar but different to being married. Unlike married couples, property you shared together is not divided when your relationship ends. Unless you agree in writing to divide it equally, you may be left with little to show for your commitment.
Preserve your peace of mind and financial assets by making a legally binding contract for cohabitating couples. Our family lawyers:
- calculate spousal support obligations
- write plans for property division in divorce
- help you decide who gets real estate, whether you live common law or are legally married
- split investments fairly
- or include clauses that set aside life insurance policies to leave out former spouses.
Why Sign a Cohabitation Agreement?
An Axess Law cohabitation agreement defines your property rights. It may be your only protection from losing the financial security you shared as a couple.
Cohabitation agreements give you many of the same rights legally married or engaged couples enjoy from marriage contracts or prenuptial agreements. Besides specifying how financial assets and real estate will be divided, making a cohabitation agreement can affect how a relationship break-up impacts adopted or biological children (see Parenting Plans for Family Break-ups).
Cohabitation agreements aren’t legally required, but they do give you legal standing if your relationship breaks down. Like any contract, you can include anything that is not immoral, illegal or unfair. Your contract excludes only child decision-making responsibility or parenting time (formerly called custody and access), decisions a family court judge must make.
If You Marry Out of Country
Your marriage ceremony must be legal in the country where it occurred or it may not be recognized under Canadian law. If that happens or you had a same-sex civil union in another country, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada may deem your relationship to be common law. A cohabitation agreement made soon after you arrive in Canada can give you the comfort of knowing your legal and financial interests are protected, regardless of whether your marriage is valid.
Getting Spousal Support
As long as you lived together three or more years or had a child and lived in a relationship of some permanence, spousal support upon separation is possible. Provided your income is lower than your spouse’s and they can afford to pay, you could be supported while you retrain or look for work or, if you are over 65, for life.
You could also get a share of the family home as a joint tenant with your partner. Talk to us about property title transfers for family law division of assets.
Parenting Plans for Family Break-ups
You may have opinions about how your children are raised, their education or religion. Your thoughts matter to the court.
But since decisions about parenting time (access) or decision-making responsibility (custody) are excluded from cohabitation agreements, the family court will make those calls. Your children’s best interests are at the heart of every decision.
You, your partner or both of you can ask for decision-making responsibility and parenting time under Ontario’s Family Law Act. As long as you treat your partner’s children as your own, you have a right to be part of their lives.
Family court will ask for a well thought out parenting plan. You may be asked for child support and to make a case for why the children should live with you, your partner or both of you.
You or your partner can apply for:
- joint legal custody, for input into major decisions
- joint physical custody, allowing you to live with the children up to 40% of the time
- sole custody of all the children
- or split custody of siblings.
You may be able to adopt a same-sex partner’s child you are concerned is not being cared for or who prefers to live with you. Ask Axess Law how to proceed.
Change or Cancel Cohabitation Agreements
Personal or financial circumstances changing? Axess Law can write a new contract that reflects your wishes and evolving situation. It costs just as much to start anew as to make a codicil or amendment.
We advise you on cancelling or backing out of cohabitation agreements, if that’s an appropriate option. Your contract may be intentionally or fraudulently misrepresented or have an unlawful purpose. For example, if you were coerced or unduly influenced to sign, you could have a case to break the contract without any legal consequences for you.
Or, if your partner was evasive or deceitful about their finances, the court may also be sympathetic. Our family lawyers can direct you on what to do if your partner failed to make full and frank disclosure of their finances while drafting a cohabitation agreement.
What Happens When Your Partner Dies
Common law spouses may qualify for survivor benefits when a partner dies. If you were joint tenants on the title to the property, you can transfer title to the family home to your name without incurring probate court expenses and delays.
Ask us if you have questions about unjust enrichment or constructive trust actions against an Ontario estate.
Trusted, Affordable Legal Services
Preparing cohabitation or separation agreements allows you to move on with your life sooner, without costly legal bills. When you need a family law firm for domestic agreements, Axess Law has flat rate legal services.
Traditional legal services cost much more because family lawyers charge hourly fees. We make getting legal advice affordable by simplifying the process for you. Call us for a quote for domestic agreements.
Domestic contracts can be arranged by video conference anywhere in Ontario or you can visit our Greater Toronto Area or Ottawa law offices to talk to a licensed family lawyer near you.
Book Online or By Phone Today
Book your appointment online by dialing 1-877-402-4277 toll free anywhere in Ontario or call our 1-647-479-0118 lawyer line in Greater Toronto Area. You can meet in person with us at any of our open law offices, Toronto area or Ottawa, near you. We have onsite parking and easy transit access.