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Moving in with a partner? 3 things to discuss first

On Behalf of | Aug 15, 2023 | Family Law

Moving in with your partner can be a big step. And it’s an increasingly common decision among Canadians.

According to statistics, in 2021, about 80 percent of people between the ages of 20-24 who were in a relationship lived with their partner. If you are part of this growing trend, discussing a few important questions to better understand your expectations and boundaries can be wise.

Who owns what?

Talking about what you own and bring into the relationship before cohabitating ensures you understand your individual assets and liabilities. You should also know your rights if you are in an adult interdependent partnership, which the law defines as:

  • Living together for three years continuously
  • Being in a committed relationship for less than three years and having a child together, or
  • Having an adult interdependent partner agreement

Under these circumstances, dividing property in a breakup is essentially the same process as if you were divorcing, which follows the Family Property Act.

Outside of these situations, you don’t have the same rights. To get specific property back or to get a share of your partner’s property, you may need to go to court.

How will you resolve arguments in a breakup?

Cohabitating can lead to countless arguments or disputes. The details of your conflicts will depend on your specific situation, but you can make a plan regarding your approach to resolving disputes. 

For instance, will you seek couples counselling? Talk to a mediator? If you break up, will you commit to out-of-court methods of resolution?

What if you get a pet?

Many cohabitating couples have pets as part of their family. In the event of a breakup, it is crucial to know that, in the eyes of the law, animals are property. To ensure the courts do not treat your animal like a couch or bank account, you should discuss what will happen to your companion if your relationship ends.

Will you share custody? Will one of you keep your pet, and if so, how will you decide who that person is? When you can reach an agreement yourselves, you take your pet’s future out of the court’s hands and keep it in yours.

Talking about these topics may not be the most romantic thing to do when you decide to live with your partner. However, they can have tremendous benefits for you now and in the future.


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