Deciding to live with your partner is one of the most significant decisions you will make - financially and otherwise. But you are not at the mercy of the legal system if your relationship ends.
If you write a cohabitation agreement (also called a marriage agreement, or a prenuptial agreement), you and your partner can decide how you will operate your finances during your relationship, and, if you break up, how your property will be divided, whether one of you can claim spousal support from the other, and how you will care for your children.
People say: but it is so unromantic to talk about what would happen if we break up! To which I say: the fact that you buy fire insurance does not mean you are planning to have a fire. If you are unable to talk about money now, while you are happy and in love, there is no chance you will be able to talk about it if you are in the middle of an angry breakup.
Talking about and deciding together what you want to happen makes it very unlikely that you will end up in a bitter and expensive fight if your relationship ends.
If you do not have a cohabitation agreement, the law will decide for you what happens if you break up. Unfortunately it is almost impossible to predict with certainty what a judge will decide in a particular situation, and parties have to go to court to find out who gets what.
Out/Law Legal Guides
If you live together... Some questions to consider
To Wed or Not to Wed
Tying the Knot: Marriage in British Columbia