Marriage Contracts in Ontario
A MARRIAGE CONTRACTS
Negotiating a cohabitation agreement or a marriage contract (prenuptial agreement) runs contrary to most people’s ideal of a romantic relationship because such agreement necessitates contemplating dissolution. Rather than a repudiation of a relationship, marriage contracts (pre-nups and post-nups) are a prudent and practical move that establishes and defines both partners’ rights.
Here are some of the benefits of marriage contracts, drafted by our Toronto family lawyer:
• Not only will a marriage contract safeguard your pre-marriage assets in the event of a divorce, but it can also shield you from having to share any increase in the value of property that you owned at the date of marriage.
• When drafting a marriage contract (prenuptial agreement) you can also determine the ownership of a matrimonial home and any property purchased together during your marriage.
• By entering into a marriage contract, you will likely be safe from pre-marriage debt, financial issues, business ownership, or loans that your spouse may have incurred, and you will be able to address in a mutually satisfactory fashion the division of any joint debts and liabilities.
• A marriage contract can either eliminate spousal support obligations or modify them in a manner that reflects both parties’ values and concerns.
• A marriage contract can be a useful indicator of intent concerning each parent’s right to direct the education and moral training of their children.
Who Can Benefit from a Marriage Contract?
The most obvious candidates for prenuptual agreements come from the relationships that are marked by significant discrepancy in incomes and wealth. Substantial debt or substantial wealth (or both) militate in favour of a marriage contract. Similarly, individuals who have dedicated years to building a business, investing and saving, are likely to wish to protect their assets from unforeseen life events, such as a divorce. Individuals whose family members have transferred business interests, money or property in their name to avoid inheritance costs and tax burdens are similarly motivated to protect those assets and any increase in their value in case of a divorce.
In Ontario, prenuptial agreements or marriage contrcts are essential planning tools in more traditional marriages, where one spouse sacrifices his or her career and earning potential in order to remain at home to take care of the children and / or the household. A marriage contract can prospectively address economic disadvantage of this arrangement by establishing fair spousal support and property division rules.
In the end, marriage contracts are a form of insurance – a contingency plan that you may never use, but which gives you a piece of mind and ensures a secure future no matter what happens.
How We Can Help
Marriage contracts should be entered into well in advance of the intended date of marriage. By planning ahead, you can avoid lengthy and complicated litigation. Call us today if you would like our marriage contract lawyer to draft and negotiate the terms of your cohabitation agreement or a marriage contract in a timely manner. We also provide clients with independent legal advice on existing domestic contracts, drafted by their spouse’s lawyer.