Cohabitation Agreement

Get expert advice on the matters of family law from your home. We bring legal expertise to you in the most convenient and affordable way.

Who is a Common Law Spouse?

A cohabitation agreement protects financial and legal interests for common-law spouses or unmarried couples who plan to live together. Axess Law’s Ontario family lawyers draft domestic agreements to suit any family or financial circumstances.

Ontario’s Family Law Act considers you common law spouses if you:

  • live together three or more years or a year if you have biological or adopted children
  • share a shelter
  • get financial support from your partner
  • have an emotional and sexual relationship
  • share social activities
  • and are seen by yourselves and others as a couple.

Common law spouses’ legal rights differ from legally married couples. The home or assets you share may not be yours if you split. For your own peace of mind, it’s important to know your common law rights and obligations.

How It Works


Book Your Appointment

Click on ‘Get Started’ to submit your details. Our client care team will contact you shortly to schedule your appointment with the lawyer


Meet With The Lawyer

Axess Law gives you legal advice as your case requires. Family lawyers can meet you in person or online, at your convenience.


Review Documents

Our family lawyers file legal documents or answer court questions. We help you navigate through your domestic legal issue with ease.

Documents We Need

Whether you are seeking independent advice on what options you have or need guidance on family law needs, Axess Law’s legal services make getting legal advice a simple task. Bring the following for your online video conference (anywhere in Ontario) or in-person meeting at our Greater Toronto Area law offices:

Axess Law will ask you for two pieces of ID. Proving your identity is obligatory to prevent fraud. You may use either two pieces of primary ID or one primary and one secondary ID These include:

  • Driver’s license
  • Canadian passport
  • Ontario photo card
  • Canadian citizenship card with photo
  • PR card with photo
Our lawyers will ask to see records of any existing debts that you may have. These would include debts such as car loans, mortgages, or student loans.
When drafting a cohabitation agreement, bring us your personal statement of assets. This would include documents such as stocks, investments, or real estate deeds.
When booking an appointment, our team will make a note of your contact information. This would include your name, email address, and telephone number.

Why Do You Need a Cohabitation Agreement?

Written cohabitation agreements in Ontario give you property rights if you separate. Without one, you are limited to making legal claims for financial support. Drafting a cohabitation agreement allows discussing your expectations for your relationship. And you can decide if you will financially support your spouse if they leave, or divide property that you own with them.

Bringing substantial assets into a new relationship or a business or vacation property you want to keep if you separate are all reasons to make a domestic contract. Your commitment to children from previous marriages or relationships can also make cohabitation agreements necessary. Dying intestate without a Will and cohabitation agreement can leave your spouse and children financially vulnerable after you are gone.

A cohabitation agreement gives you credit for financial contributions and domestic arrangements that can affect your future if you leave the relationship or your common law spouse dies.

What to Include in a Cohabitation Agreement

Your cohabitation agreement can include:

  • adding joint tenancy to your property title
  • who lives in the family home with children
  • who gets the family business
  • dividing real property like vacation cottages
  • dividing joint bank accounts and investments
  • paying bills and debts
  • spousal support after separation
  • dividing personal possessions
  • directing children’s education and moral training
  • and anything else you share as a couple.

Parenting time and decision-making responsibility for children (formerly called child access and child custody) are excluded. Only a family court judge can decide what the best interests of the child.

Your Obligations to your Common Law Spouse

A cohabitation agreement protects your financial and legal interests. As a common law spouse, it is your legal obligation to:

Be Truthful About Your Personal Assets

Don’t hide ownership of any stocks, or property. Be truthful about all the personal assets you own.

Discuss Expectations

Be very clear about what expectations you and your partner hold moving forward.

Commitment to Children

Your commitment to children from previous marriages or relationships must be clearly stated.

Household Contributions

Discuss and clearly state how much each partner will contribute to the rent or mortgage.

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Convenient Appointments

Axess Law gives you the choice of booking an online or in-person appointment. Our lawyers are available 7 days a week, at times convenient for you. We can meet in person, by phone, email, or via a remote video call. In addition to these, there are 5 Axess Law offices located across the Greater Toronto Area – all with onsite parking or easily accessible by public transit.

Some FAQs

Axess Law Ontario cohabitation agreements respect domestic agreements contract law. Your agreement is legally binding and can be filed in any Ontario family court. If you’re worrying about whether a cohabitation agreement could be overturned, hiring an Axess Law lawyer is the best reassurance you can buy.
Being open and honest about your finances is essential to making legally valid cohabitation agreements. If you marry later, your domestic agreement will become a marriage contract, with enduring legal consequences. Hiring an Ontario lawyer for domestic contracts ensures your agreement is legally binding on your spouse and properly signed by you and witnesses. While you can write your own, licensed lawyers understand contract law rules for drafting agreements that can better withstand court challenges.
Axess Law writes cohabitation agreements that are fair and reasonable for both spouses. Joint bank accounts or investments you purchased as a couple can be divided evenly or shared based on each spouse’s contribution.
If you need to change domestic agreements, Axess Law will do that for you and ensure amendments are signed and witnessed. Our family law offices offer legal opinions on requesting financial support if cohabitation agreements are very unfair or outdated when a spouse passes away. Your partner’s income may go up substantially after you leave. Your own needs may also change if you become ill after you separate or are unable to find work because you have been a stay-at-home parent. We make amending agreements or rescind marriage contracts if income changes, you receive inheritances, or marry or have children.

Dealing with a common law spouse who is dishonest or hides assets can be emotionally exhausting. Axess Law helps you figure out if your spouse is withholding financial disclosure to prevent sharing income after separation. We can recommend private investigators or advise on getting court judgments against spouses. Axess Law will look at your unique family situation and inform you if you can enforce cohabitation agreements in court.

While your cohabitation agreement can’t include child access or child custody decisions, you can make informal parenting plans for Ontario family court. We have virtual family lawyers anywhere in Ontario or at law offices near you to advise you on parenting obligations and decision-making responsibilities for minor children or adult dependants who need financial support and guidance.
Yes, Axess Law lawyers advise you separately from your spouse to protect you from being coerced or unduly influenced while signing domestic contracts. Get independent legal advice before signing any legal contracts in Ontario. We provide an ILA certificate to show family court you understand the nature and consequences of the contract. Domestic agreements are less likely to be overturned in court when you have independent legal advice because it demonstrates you took time and effort to get an opinion from a lawyer on your own.