Free Cohabitation Agreement

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Cohabitation Agreement

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COHABITATION AGREEMENT

THIS COHABITATION AGREEMENT (the "Agreement") dated this ________ day of ________________, ________.

BETWEEN:

_____________________
of _________________________

- AND -

_____________________
of _________________________

BACKGROUND

  1. This Agreement is made between _____________________ and _____________________ (collectively the "Parties" and individually a "Party") who presently reside in a non-marital cohabitation, although there is no present intention to marry.
  2. The Parties' non-marital cohabitation began or would begin on approximately the ________ day of ________________, ________.
  3. The Parties wish to enter into this Agreement to provide for the status, ownership, and division of property between them, including future property owned or to be acquired by either or both of them.
  4. The Parties further wish to affix their respective rights and liabilities that may result from this relationship.
  5. The Parties recognize the possibility of unhappy differences that may arise between them. Accordingly, the Parties desire that the distribution of any property that either or both of them may own will be governed by the terms of this Agreement and, insofar as the statutory or case law permits, intend that any statutes that may apply to them, either by virtue of Federal or State legislation, will not apply to them.
  6. Each Party has retained their own lawyer and has received independent legal advice regarding the terms of this Agreement.
  7. The Parties acknowledge that neither is under any duress or undue influence of the other, and that they are voluntarily entering into this Agreement.
  8. The Parties have disclosed to the satisfaction of each of them all assets and liabilities that each may have.

NOW THEREFORE in consideration of the upcoming cohabitation agreement, and in consideration of the mutual promises and covenants contained in this Agreement, the Parties agree as follows:

  1. PROPERTY
  2. The Parties acknowledge that this Agreement will govern any determination of ownership of property that may occur in the event of the Parties separating, or upon the death of a Party.
  3. All jointly acquired or jointly held property, however and whenever acquired, will remain the property of and be owned by both Parties and will be treated as shared property (the "Shared Property").
  4. Except as otherwise provided in this Agreement, all property will be treated as property owned solely by either one of the Parties (the "Separate Property") except where:
    1. it is Shared Property; or
    2. there is proof of shared legal ownership.
  5. Nothing in this Agreement will prevent or invalidate any gift, or transfer for value, from one Party to the other of present or future property.
  6. Unless a Party can reasonably show that they solely own a piece of property, where either Party commingles jointly owned property with Separate Property, any commingled property will be presumed to be Shared Property.
  7. DEBTS
  8. The Parties acknowledge that this Agreement will govern any determination of responsibility of debts that may occur in the event of the Parties separating, or upon the death of a Party.
  9. All jointly acquired or jointly held debts, however and whenever acquired, will remain the debts of and be owed by both Parties and will be treated as shared debts (the "Shared Debts").
  10. Except as otherwise provided in this Agreement, all debts will be treated as debts owed solely by either one of the Parties (the "Separate Debts") except where:
    1. it is Shared Debt; or
    2. there is proof of shared legal responsibility.
  11. SUPPORT
  12. The Parties agree that the investment of time or labor with respect to personal service in the property of the other, or otherwise, will be deemed to have been made gratuitously, and without expectation or right of compensation unless agreed to the contrary in writing.
  13. It is the intention of the Parties to forever release each other from any support obligations now and in the future no matter how their circumstances may change. They will not apply now or in the future under any legislation for support. They each waive any rights they may have to proceed against the other under any law or statute for  support and rely upon the law of contract to govern in respect of this issue.
  14. The Parties realize that their respective financial circumstances may be altered in the future by changes in their health, the cost of living, their employment, their marital status, the breakdown of their relationship, or otherwise. No such changes will give either Party the right to seek support under any legislation. It is understood by each Party that this Agreement represents a final disposition of all support issues between them.
  15. ESTATES AND TESTAMENTARY DISPOSITION
  16. Nothing in this Agreement will limit or affect any rights that each may acquire as a cohabitant or cohabitant in the property, assets or estate of the other cohabitant.
  17. Nothing in this Agreement will invalidate or prevent either Party from naming the other as a beneficiary by will or other testamentary disposition.
  18. SEVERABILITY
  19. Should any portion of this Agreement be held by a court of law to be invalid, unenforceable, or void, such holding will not have the effect of invalidating or voiding the remainder of this Agreement, and the Parties agree that the portion so held to be invalid, unenforceable, or void, will be deemed amended, reduced in scope, or otherwise stricken only to the extent required for purposes of validity and enforcement in the jurisdiction of such holding.
  20. INTENTION OF THE PARTIES
  21. Notwithstanding that the Parties acknowledge and agree that their circumstances at the execution of this Agreement may change for many reasons, including but without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the passage of years, it is nonetheless their intention to be bound strictly by the terms of this Agreement at all times.
  22. DUTY OF GOOD FAITH
  23. This Agreement creates a fiduciary relationship between the Parties in which each Party agrees to act with the utmost of good faith and fair dealing toward the other in all aspects of this Agreement.
  24. FURTHER DOCUMENTATION
  25. The Parties agree to provide and execute such further documentation as may be reasonably required to give full force and effect to each term of this Agreement.
  26. TITLE/HEADINGS
  27. The headings of this Agreement form no part of it, and will be deemed to have been inserted for convenience only.
  28. ENUREMENT
  29. This Agreement will be binding upon and will enure to the benefit of the Parties, their respective heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns.
  30. GOVERNING LAW
  31. The laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia will govern the interpretation of this Agreement, and the status, ownership, and division of property between the Parties wherever either or both of them may from time to time reside.
  32. TERMINATION OR AMENDMENT
  33. This Agreement may only be terminated or amended by the Parties in writing signed by both of them.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the Parties have hereunto set their hands and seals on the ________ day of ________________, ________.

SIGNED, SEALED AND DELIVERED
In the presence of:

_____________________________
Witness
Printed Name: _________________

_____________________________
Witness
Printed Name: _________________

________________________
_____________________



_____________________________
Witness
Printed Name: _________________

_____________________________
Witness
Printed Name: _________________

________________________
_____________________


CERTIFICATE OF INDEPENDENT LEGAL ADVICE

THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
COUNTY OF __________________

I, ____________, of the City of ___________________, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Attorney, DO HEREBY CERTIFY:

THAT I was this day consulted in my professional capacity by _____________________, named in the within instrument, being a Cohabitation Agreement, separate and apart from _____________________, as to _____________________'s legal rights and liabilities under the terms and conditions of it, and that I acted solely for _____________________, and explained fully to _____________________ the nature and effect of the said Cohabitation Agreement and _____________________ did execute it in my presence, and did acknowledge and declare that _____________________ was executing it of _____________________'s own volition and without any fear, threats, compulsion or influence from _____________________, or any other person.

DATED at the City of ___________________, in the Commonwealth of Virginia this ____________ day of _________, 20___.

________________________
ATTORNEY
Print Name: _____________



I, _____________________, the person named in the annexed Agreement, hereby acknowledges the foregoing this ____day of ______________20___.


________________________
_____________________


CERTIFICATE OF INDEPENDENT LEGAL ADVICE

THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
COUNTY OF __________________

I, ____________, of the City of ___________________, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Attorney, DO HEREBY CERTIFY:

THAT I was this day consulted in my professional capacity by _____________________, named in the within instrument, being a Cohabitation Agreement, separate and apart from _____________________, as to _____________________'s legal rights and liabilities under the terms and conditions of it, and that I acted solely for _____________________, and explained fully to _____________________ the nature and effect of the said Cohabitation Agreement and _____________________ did execute it in my presence, and did acknowledge and declare that _____________________ was executing it of _____________________'s own volition and without any fear, threats, compulsion or influence from _____________________, or any other person.

DATED at the City of ___________________, in the Commonwealth of Virginia this ____________ day of _________, 20___.

________________________
ATTORNEY
Print Name: _________________



I, _____________________, the person named in the annexed Agreement, hereby acknowledges the foregoing this ____day of ______________20___.


________________________
_____________________

Last Updated November 15, 2023

What is a Cohabitation Agreement?

A Cohabitation Agreement is a legally binding contract that outlines the financial and property rights of an unmarried couple living together in a shared residence. It also details each partner's rights in case of a break-up.  

In most states, there’s no legal status for cohabitating couples who are not married. Therefore, they can use a Cohabitation Agreement to outline their rights and obligations during and after the relationship.

Legally, cohabitating couples are considered domestic partners in several US states, including California, Maryland, and others. 

A Cohabitation Agreement is also called a: 

  • Cohabitation agreement contract
  • Living together agreement
  • Common law partnership agreement 
  • Cohabitation agreement for unmarried partners

How does a Cohabitation Agreement work?

An increasing number of couples are choosing to pursue alternatives to marriage. As a result, Cohabitation Agreements are essential documents that allow couples to legally safeguard their relationship

Cohabitation Agreements also clearly define the division of shared assets and debts in the case of a break-up. This protects both parties and helps to avoid future court proceedings.

This agreement can be used to detail and define:

  1. Separate assets: Property or items owned separately by one partner. They retain their respective rights of ownership to these items after a breakup. 
  2. Shared assets: Property or items co-owned by both parties. In the event of a breakup, these assets are divided as outlined in the Cohabitation Agreement. 
  3. Debt obligations: Joint debts, such as co-signed loans or real estate that both parties will be responsible for in case of a breakup. 
  4. Support payments: Financial support that one party might be required to give the other as outlined in the Cohabitation Agreement.

Benefits of a Cohabitation Agreement

Many couples prefer a Cohabitation Agreement because it’s more flexible than a marriage agreement while still providing a degree of legal protection.

Advantages of a Cohabitation Agreement include:  

1. Transparency 

It's always a good idea to have written documentation regarding shared assets and debts. Despite the trust between partners, drafting a Cohabitation Agreement encourages open and honest communication regarding expectations and responsibilities around property, debt, and belongings. This can be a valuable exercise for partners to undertake together.

A Cohabitation Agreement can help prevent costly and complicated court battles by establishing clear guidelines for dividing assets, debts, and property in case of a break-up. Without it, unmarried couples may face uncertainty and disputes over support and property issues. Creating a legally binding agreement is crucial to minimize these conflicts.

What can happen if I don't have a Cohabitation Agreement?

There are significant legal risks if you don’t have a Cohabitation Agreement. Although several states recognize domestic partnerships, there is limited legal protection for unmarried couples who live together

For example, one partner does not have an automatic claim to any property or assets legally in the other partner’s name, which differs from marriage. So, if your partner owns your house but you help make mortgage payments, you are not entitled to any portion of this property in case of your partner’s death.  

Ending a relationship can be an emotional and intense process. With a Cohabitation Agreement, you can rest assured that your assets, debts, and other financial matters will be handled fairly, equally, and efficiently.

What does a Cohabitation Agreement include?

A Cohabitation Agreement usually includes:

  • Full names of you and your partner 
  • Shared address
  • Move-in date
  • Information about both shared and separate assets and debts
  • Delegation of household expenses
  • Details of any joint accounts used to pay shared living expenses 
  • Details regarding shared assets, debts, and dependant children in the event of a breakup
  • Restrictions around inheritance 
  • Any additional clauses

Are Cohabitation Agreements legally binding?

Yes, Cohabitation Agreements are legally binding. Like most contracts, your Cohabitation Agreement will be legally enforceable if it contains the elements of a valid contract and follows the appropriate legal protocol. 

Legislation governing Cohabitation Agreements may vary from state to state. For this reason, it is sometimes a good idea to talk to a lawyer and seek independent legal advice before signing your Cohabitation Agreement. This process helps ensure the Agreement is fair and that both partners fully understand what they are signing. 

Additionally, couples may want to consider having their Cohabitation Agreement notarized or witnessed by a lawyer or notary public to increase its credibility and validity.

Related Documents:

  • Rommate Agreement: Outline the rights and obligations of roommates living together.
  • Separation Agreement: Divide the assets and responsibilities of two people when they are separating.
  • Prenuptial Agreement: Create a domestic contract between you and your spouse before marriage.
  • Child Travel Consent: Give your child permission to travel alone or with another guardian.
  • Pet Agreement: Establish custody and care for any type of household pet who initially lived with two owners and now lives with one owner permanently.
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Cohabitation Agreement

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