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Cohabitation After Legal Separation and Divorce: Ensuring Your Child’s Future With A Parental Plan

As common-law relationships continue to become a bigger trend in Canadian demographics, it is important to consider the intricacies that cohabitation poses to children.  

7% of families are common-law with children and 32% of families in Canada are married with children, according to the Vanier Institute of the Family. Research shows that cohabitation is a popular choice for young people as well as divorced individuals.

Furthermore, Canadian cohabitation statistics from the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada report that “children born into a married relationship not preceded by cohabitation are nearly three times less likely to experience family breakdown before they turn 10 than are children born into a cohabiting relationship.” Therefore it is critical for partners to discuss the finer nuances of blending families to avoid placing unnecessary stress on children. Prior agreements should be made between spouses in regards to parenting strategies, techniques and communication that will assist with lessening the integration for children. If both partners have a child from a previous marriage, or a new mother or father-figure is put in place, it can be difficult for a child to process.

Cohabitation Agreements and Children

It is important to understand that a cohabitation agreement cannot stipulate who will get custody or child support issues in advance if the relationship ends. However, spouses who are not in a relationship but are parents of a child can create what is called a parental agreement. Family law lawyers at Epstein & Associates can help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities as a parent.

A parental plan or parental agreement is a legally binding document that will ascertain how much child support will be paid and how to raise the child.  This agreement will likely include arrangements for seeing and spending time with both parents, and will make decisions about the child’s education and medical care.  Before signing a parenting agreement, the drafts should be discussed with a reputable family law attorney.

At Epstein & Associates, our family law lawyers care a great deal not only about results, but about your family. If you need counselling, advice or guidance creating a cohabitation agreement and are located in the greater Toronto area or Toronto, contact us today to start the process.