Cohabitation Agreement, Prenuptial Agreement, Postnuptial Agreement, Marriage Agreement and Separation Agreement.  They are all legal documents between two individuals who are living together, whether they are married or not.

How are they different?  Not by much.  In essence the difference is in terms of timing – when the agreement is signed.

A Cohabitation Agreement is signed before or after you begin living together with your partner.  A Prenuptial Agreement is signed before you get married.  A Postnuptial Agreement is signed after you are married.  So is a Marriage Agreement.  A Separation Agreement is signed after you separate from your spouse.

All of these agreements address the same things – how you and your spouse share your property, how you share your finances, and what happens to both of these issues should the relationship breakdown – or has broken down in the case of the Separation agreement.

The name of the agreement is not as important as what is in the agreement.  Every couple that separates requires a Separation Agreement.  But who should have a Cohabitation or Prenuptial Agreement?  There are several answers to that question.

A Cohabitation Agreement or Prenuptial Agreement should be considered by anyone concerned with the following circumstances:

  • One or both spouses is bringing in significant assets into a relationship, and wants them to be protected,
  • One or both spouses expects to receive an inheritance or gift, and wants them to be protected,
  • One or both spouses want to specify how the family finances will operate during the relationship, or after the relationship,
  • One or both spouses want to predetermine how property is shared after a breakdown to the relationship,
  • One or both spouses want to keep their financial circumstances separate, and
  • One or both spouses want to protect their business or corporation.

Many other scenarios exist.  Are you thinking of a Cohabitation Agreement or a PreNuptial Agreement?  I can help you make sure you are on the right track, and I can provide you with options that you may not have considered.  Feel free to call or email me.