Is there a legal difference between being married and living together?

4. Change your rights

You and your partner can change the rights you get when you marry or live together. There are different ways to do this.

Contract

If you want to change some of your rights, you can sign a or .  These agreements are sometimes called domestic contracts. You can make a before or after you get or start to live together.

Your contract can cover things like:

  • property rights if you separate
  • if you separate
  • health care decisions if you don’t have the mental ability to make them

You cannot make a contract that:

  • says who gets and , which used to be called and , to your children in the future if your relationship ends
  • says when you have to report a common-law partner on your income tax returns or to Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program
  • changes immigration rules about who you can sponsor

You can read more about these agreements here:

Will

You can also make a will. A will is a written legal document that says what happens to your property after you die.

The date of your will can be very important. For example, your whole will may not be valid if it was made before you and your partner got married.

You can read more about how a will can change certain rights here:

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney for Personal Care is a legal document that lets you name someone to make decisions for you if you become mentally incapable. This includes:

  • decisions about your personal care, such as where you live, what you eat, getting dressed, washing and having a bath, and staying safe
  • decisions about your health care that deal with:
    • health-care treatments
    • moving into a long-term care home
    • personal care services in a long-term care home

A Power of Attorney for Property is another kind of Power Attorney. It lets you name someone you trust to make decisions about your money and property.

You can read more about powers of attorney here:

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