Whether you are currently living with your significant other, planning on living together, getting married or already married, I strongly recommend that you agree on how you will deal with property and liabilities in the remote possibility the relationship ends. The Agreement will be tailored to your wants and needs, meaning that it can deal with only some specific property items, or it can deal with all property items; it can be customized to your circumstances, or it can be fairly standard.
A Cohabitation Agreement and Adult Interdependent Partner Agreement set out terms with respect to couples that are not married, but in a relationship, or even a couple who may be perceived to be in a relationship, but they want to avoid disputes that may arise from that perception. A Prenuptial Agreement is signed before couples are married, and a Postnuptial Agreement is signed after a couple is married.
In the Agreement, you set out who is entitled to keep what property, or what percentage share, of what property as their own; which debts one party, or the other party, is solely liable for and which debts are joint debts; you determine what the definition of solely owned property is and what will be joint property. You also can address inheritances, growth in the value of the property, substituted property, etc. we discuss all circumstances with you and what you want to have happen. I will consult with you about what your specific wishes and concerns are and advise you whether an agreement is necessary. I will draft the Agreement to suit your needs.
Most people do not enter their first marriage or relationship with an Agreement, and if you are both starting from the same place, and growing together perhaps an Agreement is not necessary. However, an Agreement becomes increasingly important if it is not your first marriage or relationship, especially if one or both of you have children from a prior relationship and have accumulated assets and liabilities.
Even if you do not feel you want an Agreement, with a new, blended family, it is very important to give consideration to your Wills and what your estate plan will look like for your children, your new significant other and their children.
I would be happy to answer all of your questions and help you with your Agreement and Estate Plan. I assist clients in Okotoks, Black Diamond, Turner Valley, High River, the Foothills, Calgary and surrounding areas. I am also mobile and can travel to you, with evening and weekend appointment times available upon request.