A Marriage Contract is essentially an insurance policy for your financial plan when getting married. Marriage Contracts are governed by section 52 of the Family Law Act.
The best time to consider a Marriage Contract, sometimes referred to as a “pre-nup”, is several months before the wedding. If you are just days away from the big day, it may be wise to sign the Contract after marrying in order to reduce the chance of one party claiming duress.
Marriage Contracts are a great idea considering divorce rates in Canada are just under 40%.
When preparing a Marriage Contract full financial disclosure is a must. Both parties must also have their own lawyers- often referred to as “Independent Legal Advice”.
Most Marriage Contracts deal with financial issues ranging from the basic to the very complex. The only way to opt out of the property division provisions of the Family Law Act is with a Marriage Contract. Many couples also wish to deal with spousal support in the Marriage Contract to provide some certainty in the event of separation. How to dispose of the matrimonial home when separating is also a very popular legal issue outlined in Marriage Contracts. Having a Marriage Contract also permits you to do what you want with your Estate in the event of your death. Without a Marriage Contract you cannot disinherit your spouse.
Marriage Contracts cannot be used to determine custody and access to children since these issues are settled by reviewing the best interests of the children at the time of separation. Child support is another issue that is usually not canvassed in Marriage Contracts for a variety of reasons.
For unmarried or common-law couples, they are also encouraged to consider entering into a Cohabitation Agreement in order to protect their assets and interests as well.
It is always best to consult with an experienced Family Law Lawyer when considering entering into any domestic contact- especially a Marriage Contract.
If you would like to discuss any of these questions, or any concerns you may have, please feel free to contact me by email at email@example.com
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and is not legal advice. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your specific circumstance.