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Marriage and Cohabitation Agreements

When spouses wish to make asset arrangements which deviate from the provisions of the Marriage Act, they need to enter into an agreement detailing their wishes – a marriage agreement or marriage settlement. Since the statutory provisions do not apply to cohabitants, a cohabitation agreement may be needed to regulate matters such as asset ownership, debt liability and the distribution of expenses in the event of a relationship breakdown.

Financial circumstances

Marriage has far-reaching financial consequences for spouses, irrespective of whether the marriage lasts ‘for life’ or is dissolved by separation or divorce. Many problems can be avoided by concrete, individual planning. Our lawyers advise on both financial arrangements between spouses and cohabitants and the preparation of marriage and cohabitation agreements.

Marriage agreements

A marriage agreement or marriage settlement is required when spouses wish to make arrangements differing from the provisions of the Marriage Act. This includes cases where, for example, one spouse wishes to give a gift to the other spouse or wants to vary the statutory rules on unequal division of marital property. We assist with the drafting of agreements on asset arrangements/marriage agreements, particularly with regard to provisions on joint ownership, division and separation of property. We also advise on the financial relationship between spouses to help clients decide whether they want or need to enter into a marriage agreement.

Cohabitation agreements

Ownership and debt arrangements between cohabitants are not regulated by law. Accordingly, cohabitants should consider entering into an agreement to settle the allocation of assets, debts and expenses, including in the event of a relationship breakdown. Cohabitation agreements are widely used to ensure clarity and foreseeability. We draft cohabitation agreements reflecting the individual needs and situation of each client.