Cohabitation, Marriage (Prenuptial) and Separation Agreements

Cohabitation agreements are contracts signed by unmarried couples who live together or are planning to live together.  They generally focus on what will occur if the relationship ends, setting out what property belongs to whom and whether spousal support will be paid.  They may also deal with issues that arise during the relationship, such as who is responsible for certain expenses.

Marriage or prenuptial agreements are contracts entered into prior to marriage that deal with issues that may arise if the couple divorces.  Commonly, they deal with the ownership or division of property and spousal support obligations.  For more information on these subjects, please see our pages on Divorce and Spousal Support, Division of Property and Child Custody and Visitation.

Couples enter cohabitation agreements or marriage contracts in order to obtain certainty and to contract out of provisions in the Family Law Act, Succession LawReform Act, Divorce Act and other legislation and common law doctrines that come into play when a relationship ends.   These agreements are particularly important for people enteringa relationship with significant assets and or income.

Separation agreements are created when a married or unmarried relationship has ended.  They will generally involve the division of property and debt and spousal and child support.  They may also set out provisions regarding child custody and visitation. 

Experienced Family Law Lawyers Protect Clients’ Interests in regard to Cohabitation, Marriage and Separation Agreements. 

If you are considering entering into a cohabitation, marriage or separation agreement, it is important that you obtain solid, independent legal advice. 

Courts can set aside these agreements on the grounds that:

  • one or both parties failed to disclose significant assets or debts at the time the contract was signed;
  • one or both parties failed to understand the agreement and the consequences of signing it; and
  • on any other grounds that exist in contract law; for example, if the contract was manifestly unfair to one party who was in a weaker bargaining position.

The experienced family law lawyers at Spiteri & Ursulak LLP ensure that clients’ interests are protected when entering into cohabitation, marriage or separation agreements.  We ensure that any such agreements are clear and comprehensive; that they are executed in accordance with legal requirements; and that our clients fully understand what they are signing. 

If you have signed a cohabitation, marriage or separation agreement that you feel is unfair to you, or if your former partner is attempting to have an agreement set aside, our lawyers can review the agreement and provide a legal opinion on its validity.  If the matter proceeds to litigation, our skilled litigators will fearlessly defend your rights and protect your interests.

Contact our Ottawa and Toronto Family Law Lawyers regarding Cohabitation, Marriage and Separation Agreements.

To consult our experienced family law lawyers about cohabitation, marriage and separation agreements or any other family law matters, please contact us at 613-563-1010 or