Marriage agreements — a necessity for modern Ontario couples

Traditionally, prenuptial agreements were reserved for wealthy older men and young wives who were often seen as gold diggers. Times have changed. Many Ontario couples marry with already established careers, and both parties enter the marriages with significantly more assets than the young newlyweds of years ago. For this reason, women need marriage agreements as much as men do.
If either party buys a home before the marriage, it will remain that person’s separate property as long as his or her spouse’s name is not added to the title. The marriage agreement can specify separate ownership. The same goes for a retirement fund established prior to the wedding date. A prenuptial agreement can protect it in a similar way.

It is common for husbands and wives to exchange gifts throughout a marriage. Women are typically the recipients of many precious jewellery pieces. If the marriage agreement does not specify that gifts will remain the property of the recipient, those pieces of jewellery might be subject to appraisal and division in the event of a divorce. Gifts received by the husband can be protected in a similar manner.
Another aspect that couples can address in a marriage agreement is alimony or spousal support. This may depend on the wife’s role in the marriage. If she gives up a career to care for children, it might be appropriate to add a clause to protect her if she must re-establish a career after a divorce.
Some couples even add a clause to address infidelity by either spouse — as a precaution. Drafting marriage agreements can be challenging, but help is available. With the support and guidance of an experienced divorce lawyer, a soon-to-be married Ontario person can have peace of mind that his or her interests will be protected in the event of a divorce. Source:, “Prenups are for women, too“, Heather Quick, Feb. 20, 2017

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