It is a good idea to talk with your spouse about financial expectations before living together (cohabitating) or getting married.

If you decide that you want your rights and obligations to be different from those that automatically apply to married or common-law spouses, then entering into a domestic contract may be right for you.. Your agreement is called a ‘cohabitation agreement’ if you and your spouse are not married, and a ‘marriage contract’, often referred to as a ‘pre-nuptial agreement’ or a ‘pre-nup’, if you and your spouse are, or are getting, married. You can find more information on married and common-law spouses here.

Common-law spouses can enter into a cohabitation agreement that specifically outlines what rights and obligations, including property division and support rights that both spouses will have as result of their relationship. The agreement can specifically provide that you and your common-law spouse will share property in the same way that married couples would, or alternatively, that there will not be any property sharing, or only property sharing, between you in the event of a separation. Married spouses can opt out of or alter the automatic rights and obligations, such as the entitlement to an equalization payment, by entering into a marriage contract. Find out more about Property Division and Support issues.