Family Law: The Why’s, When’s and How’s of Marriage & Cohabitation Agreements

Cohabitation Agreements and Marriage Contracts are an important and under-utilized planning tool. Many people avoid them because they fear that even bringing up the topic will harm their relationship.

Exploring what will happen upon separation or death in a supportive respectful process such as Mediation or Collaborative Practice can help a couple talk about their finances, their goals, and their fears in a way that sets their relationship up for success and ultimately creates an agreement that supports the success of their relationship while still having a plan in place in the event of a separation. 

We will cover the difference in the law around separation or death for common law couples and married couples. We will also explore the various issues that couples should consider when moving in together or getting married, as well as some common provisions in Cohabitation Agreements and Marriage Contracts. 


Deborah Graham, B.A. Hons, LL.B., Acc.FM (OAFM)

Deborah’s family law practice has been entirely devoted to Collaborative Practice, Mediation and training for 20 years and she has been practicing family law for almost 30 years. In 2017, she was awarded the James C. MacDonald Award for her extraordinary contribution to Collaborative Practice in Ontario.

Deborah is a former adjunct faculty member of Osgoode Hall Law School and is a regular presenter at the Osgoode LLM program and their Certificate in Family Law Skills and Practice program.

Deborah teaches introductory and advanced Collaborative Practice and is part of the Training Faculty for the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. She also teaches introductory and advanced Family Mediation through the Mediation Training Centre.

She has spoken or led workshops about Collaborative Practice and Mediation at the annual conferences of the Ontario Bar Association Family Law Institute, the Law Society of Ontario Family Law Summit, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, the Ontario Association of Collaborative Professionals and the Ontario Association of Family Mediators.

She was previously a board member for Collaborative Practice Toronto and the Ontario Association of Collaborative Professionals. 

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