Overturning Cohabitation Agreement in Ontario: What You Need to Know
Cohabitation agreements, also known as « domestic contracts, » are legal agreements made between two people who choose to live together without being married. These agreements outline the rights and responsibilities of both parties and can cover issues like property ownership, financial support, and division of assets in the event of a separation.
In Ontario, cohabitation agreements are considered legally binding contracts, meaning that they can be enforced in court. However, there are certain circumstances under which a cohabitation agreement may be overturned or deemed invalid.
Here are some key factors to consider if you are seeking to overturn a cohabitation agreement in Ontario:
1. Was the Agreement Validly Executed?
One of the most common reasons a cohabitation agreement may be invalidated is if it was not executed properly. In Ontario, domestic contracts must be in writing, signed by both parties, and witnessed by a third party. If any of these requirements were not met, the agreement may be deemed invalid.
2. Was There Full Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities?
For a cohabitation agreement to be considered valid, both parties must make full and frank disclosure of their assets and liabilities. This means that each person must provide a complete list of their debts, assets, and income. If one person did not fully disclose their financial situation, it may be grounds to overturn the agreement.
3. Was There Coercion or Duress?
If one party was coerced or forced into signing a cohabitation agreement, it may be deemed invalid. This can include situations where there was pressure or threats of physical harm or emotional abuse. If you can prove that you were coerced or under duress when you signed the agreement, you may be able to overturn it.
4. Has There Been a Material Change in Circumstances?
Even if a cohabitation agreement was validly executed and both parties made full disclosure of their assets and liabilities, it may still be overturned if there has been a significant change in circumstances since the agreement was signed. For example, if one party has become disabled or lost their job since signing the agreement, this may be a reason to have it overturned.
In summary, while cohabitation agreements can be a useful tool for couples who are living together, they are not always unbreakable. If you are seeking to overturn a cohabitation agreement in Ontario, it is important to work with an experienced family law lawyer who can help you navigate the complex legal process involved. By understanding your rights and options, you can make informed decisions about how to proceed.