Ontario couples who plan to get married or move in together may want to explore their options for protecting the assets each party will bring into the marriage or common law relationship. While many may feel that discussing the possibility of a relationship ending on the eve of its start is anticipating a worst-case scenario, they may see the value of marriage agreements. Even those without substantial assets can bring debts into a marriage, and addressing it in a prenuptial agreement can give both parties piece of mind.
Starting a life together knowing that one or both parties have student debt, credit card debt or child support to pay can put undue stress on the relationship. Drafting an agreement that specifies how they will manage their respective incomes, who will be responsible for the existing debts, and how they will handle household expenses can help avoid a lot of contention later on. However, finances are not the only matters to include in a marriage agreement.
Along with addressing the potential of a divorce in the future and how they will divide assets acquired during the marriage, the issues that can be dealt with in a prenup are unlimited, depending on the dynamics of the family. The only aspect that they may not include in such an agreement is child support. A couple may be concerned about circumstances changing and agreements becoming invalid; however, they may draft a postnuptial agreement to address amendments to a prenuptial agreement.
While marriage agreements can provide peace of mind to individuals moving into serious relationships, there are legal requirements to meet to ensure such contracts hold up in court in the events of divorces. Consulting with an experienced Ontario family law lawyer will ensure that a prenuptial of cohabitation agreement reflects exactly what the individuals agreed on. Even if the relationship never ends, it can be valuable upon the death of one partner. Source: businessinsider.com, “Here’s why every couple should get a prenup“, Emmie Martin, Libby Kane, Nov. 15, 2016