Unlike a financial agreement, a cohabitation agreement is designed to anchor and determine the marital relationship of a couple who do not wish or are not permitted to marry in Israel, meaning “common-law spouses”.
Other than that, in general, a cohabitation agreement is very similar to a financial agreement since it is essentially intended to regulate and determine the rights and obligations between the spouses.
The agreement includes the division of property and assets between the spouses, various social rights, including pension funds, provident funds, etc., and also other issues such as the issue of residence, and the children.
The agreement can also determine the different commitments of the couple, showing that its purpose is to regulate their ongoing relation (their commitment to mutual respect, common concern to the household etc.).
Should the agreement be authorized in court?
A cohabitate agreement need not be authorized in the family court, which differs form a “regular” financial agreement between married couples, where the law determines that it needs to be authorized in court.
In the case of a couple who are “common-law spouses”, were not married at the time of the agreement and did not intend to marry at the time, there is no place to authorize it the way a financial agreement is authorized.
Despite the fact that there are different opinions according to which the court should leave the issue of approval of the agreement for further review, the ruling approach in this regard, is as follows:
Justice Eliezer Goldberg of the Supreme Court ruled that, the Law of Financial Relations between spouses does not apply at all to unmarried couples, i.e. does not apply to “common-law spouses”.
Therefore, there is no need to approve the cohabitate agreement in court because the agreement is not a financial agreement in the sense of Property Relations’ Law but rather a regular agreement enforced by the General Contract law.