This is a very prudent step when moving in with someone. Many couples ASSUME common-law status (or living together for a year or so) gives them the same property distribution rights as a divorce if the union ends. It’s important to know that this is absolutely not the case.
“Many common-law partners would be shocked to discover they don’t have the same property rights as married spouses,” wrote Rollie Thompson in an article called Dividing Matrimonial Property: Common-Law Partners Still Excluded from Property Laws.
“Some of those couples consciously choose common-law over marriage to avoid legal obligations, but most of them simply make assumptions about their legal rights.”
Even if a common-law union doesn’t offer the same property rights as a marriage, a cohabitation agreement gives you the same protection that a “prenup” would give a married couple. It is a simple and thorough way to ensure that property and assets are divided fairly, should the union end.
If you are facing any sort of separation and would like to discuss your property distribution options, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our divorce lawyers in Newmarket, Barrie, Collingwood, Orillia, Midland, or Muskoka.