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Marriage Contract and Cohabitation Agreement Introductory Guide

This section covers information on the law, process and costs of obtaining a Marriage Contract or Cohabitation Agreement. It also explains one’s rights and obligations when one starts living together with another person they are not married to, including one’s rights and obligations with respect to the children of the partner.

Please see What Happens at the First Marriage Consultation for a summary of the topics and procedures covered in drafting an agreement.  Clients are asked to complete the Marriage Contract Client Questionnaire to bring to their initial consultation. This provides the information that is required to draft a Marriage Contract or a Cohabitation Agreement and also acts as a checklist.

Lawrence Pascoe’s process to represent a client wanting a Marriage Contract or Cohabitation is set out in his article Marriage Contract /Cohabitation Agreement Process as well as his memorandum on fees to do a marriage contract/cohabitation agreement and his retainer to do so.

Quick Guide to Marriage Contracts Articles

True or False?

After living together for three years a person obtains the same rights as a married spouse.

FALSE:  Even living together for three years does not give one the same property rights that a married person has.

If you sign a cohabitation agreement and then later marry your partner, the law says that your agreement automatically becomes a marriage contract.

TRUE:  When you get married, your cohabitation agreement becomes your marriage contract. If you both want to change it, you can sign a new agreement.