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Cohabitation agreements a family law option

The modern Canadian relationship can take on many different forms, not all of them a traditional marriage. For many young British Columbia residents, a rising divorce rate has led many people to eschew marriage altogether in exchange for simple cohabitation. However, it is important to note that even in a nontraditional relationship, things can get contentious if the relationship breaks down. This is why many family law experts are recommending couples consider cohabitation agreements to protect both individuals in the event the relationship should turn sour. 

A cohabitation agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement, wherein both individuals take stock of their assets and debts prior to living together. This documentation is very important, as some provinces will allow a cohabitation agreement to be legally ignored if it is proven that one or both individuals have attempted to hide or otherwise obfuscate material information pertaining to their assets and/or liabilities. Though the input of family law attorneys is not strictly required to draft and execute a cohabitation agreement, it is advisable for both parties to retain counsel.

These contracts cover a wide variety of topics, but it should be noted that child custody issues are not typically handled by such agreements. However, issues like the education and moral training of a child can be addressed. If the couple chooses to marry, the cohabitation agreement can be converted to a prenuptial agreement. 

Ultimately, no two relationships are alike, as many British Columbia residents can attest. As a result, family law must be malleable enough to meet the needs of a wide variety of relationship types. Before beginning the process of drafting a cohabitation agreement or any other kind of legal documentation pertaining to the relationship, it is advisable that both individuals find out more about the process from their respective legal representation. 

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