Moving in together, without getting married, has certain legal consequences. It is important to be aware of these consequences and, if need be, enter into a cohabitation agreement if you do not want them to apply.
A cohabitation agreement sets out what rights and obligations you and your spouse will have in the event of a separation. You can choose to have the same rights and obligations as married spouses, or something more tailored to your situation.
Like married spouses, common-law spouses may have spousal support obligations. A cohabitation agreement can include a waiver of spousal support.
Unlike married spouses, common-law spouses do not have certain property rights unless they enter into a contract. Common-law spouses are not entitled to an equalization of net family properties. There is also no special treatment of the “matrimonial home”; the rights to possess and sell a family home are governed by ownership. Only married spouses have a right to share in their spouse’s estate if their spouse dies without a will.