Cohabitation Agreement or Marriage Contract

What is a Domestic Contract?

Often referred to as “pre-nup” or a domestic contract, a marriage contract or cohabitation agreement sets out terms that you and your partner agree should apply if your relationship ends. 

Lots of couples want specific things to happen with income, assets, and debts if a relationship ends.  A domestic contract can ensure that the default law model does not defeat your plans and expectations. 

Who Can Benefit from a Marriage Contract or Cohabitation Agreement?

In short, almost anyone!  I often recommend marriage contracts and cohabitation agreements to people embarking upon second marriages or relationships, to people who are bringing significant assets into a relationship, to people who have very different incomes from their partner, and to people who carry on different roles in the relationship (for example, if one person is the breadwinner and the other person manages the household and raises the children).

What are the Benefits of a Marriage Contract or Cohabitation Agreement?

Learning what the law would do in the absence of a domestic contract if your relationship were to break down is a very valuable experience that can allow you to structure your affairs to avoid unintended consequences.  Obtaining a snapshot of the current financial picture of both parties will allow you to make good financial decisions going forward.  Discussing with your partner what you each expect in the event that you break up or one of you dies is a healthy exercise that can improve your relationship.  Documenting what you both want to have happen if one of you dies can avoid unpleasant disputes for your loved ones after a death.