Why marriage contracts are important

While lawyers can be an invaluable asset when you are going through a divorce, they can also help you going into marriage as well. Talking with a lawyer about what a marriage contract is and how it could be beneficial in your specific situation is an important first step in planning for your future.

There are three different kinds of contracts that generally come up with property division and the end of a relationship: marriage contracts, cohabitation contracts and separation contracts. While marriage and cohabitation contracts are similar, marriage contracts are specifically for married couples — or those soon to be married — who want to set forth provisions on how they will handle certain issues if the marriage dissolves later on.

Marriage contracts in Ontario can include terms for the property division process and whether there will be any spousal support in the event of a divorce. However, it’s important to understand the limitations to protect against your marriage contract being rendered void by the courts later on. By law, marriage contracts cannot include any terms related to child support or custody. However, they can be especially helpful for those who have complicated assets or need to ensure that certain aspects of their finances are protected.

While drafting a marriage contract may not be on the top of most couple’s to-do list, it is an important step and can save both you and your partner time later on. If you do not have a marriage contract in place, you could end up having to divide your property and assets according to Ontario’s guidelines.

Source: Advisor.ca, “Marriage contracts protect assets,” Margaret O’Sullivan, accessed Nov. 17, 2015

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