(PRWEB) September 30, 2013
Over the past few decades the trend towards common-law relationships is putting individual’s assets unwittingly at risk. Making the decision to move in with a partner requires serious thought and consideration and is no less important than getting married.
Despite a growing population, the divorce rates are decreasing in Canada. However, census data indicates a 13.9% increase in common-law relationships between the 2006 and 2011.
When an individual is considering cohabitation, there are ways to educate themselves on the differences between the division of assets upon a potential separation and how they can protect their assets and plan their estate.
Mark Epstein, a family law lawyer at Epstein & Associates in Toronto, Ontario recommends the use of a cohabitation agreement if either party is concerned about the wealth they have acquired being compromised should there be a breakdown in the relationship.
Similar to a Marriage Contract (commonly referred to as a prenuptial agreement), a Cohabitation Agreement is a document that stipulates the terms of a couple living together in a conjugal relationship outside of marriage. It may even deal with an eventual marriage between the same parties. The contract protects each party from unnecessary costs, fees and possible litigation should the relationship fall apart. A cohabitation agreement will help determine who will keep specific assets that have been purchased during the cohabitation period, who owned what prior to the relationship and how support issues should be dealt with if the cohabitation breaks down and a legal separation is required.
However, periods of physical separation do not necessarily end a relationship if there is mutual intention to continue working on the relationship. Laws related to cohabitation are sometimes complicated and hiring a Family Lawyer may be necessary to navigate the sometimes muddy waters for you.
“There is no question that sitting down with a future partner before residing together to discuss the finer nuances of blending two sets of assets, and potentially families together, is beneficial for both parties,” says Mark Epstein. It is helpful to ensure that parenting strategies, financial goals and estate plans are aligned for a happy future together with or without martial commitment.
About Epstein & Associates
Serving the communities of Newmarket, Richmond Hill and Toronto since 2005, Epstein & Associates prides itself on providing personal, one-on-one attention required to achieve your goals. Whether buying a home, starting a business, planning an estate, or seeking sensitive legal advice regarding your separation or divorce, the family lawyers at Epstein & Associates will handle all legal matters effectively and efficiently.
For further information, please contact Mark. A. Epstein: mark[at]epsteinlaw[dot]ca or (905) 898-2266 ext. 222