Mississauga Family Lawyers Advising Clients on Marriage Contracts
Although many people prefer not to think about the breakdown of a marriage before that marriage even begins, a marriage contract (also known as a pre-nuptial agreement or prenup) is becoming increasingly commonplace for couples who want to protect themselves going into a marriage, or to protect extended family contributions to a marriage, such as the cost of a first home.
If you are considering getting a marriage contract before you tie the knot, it is crucial for you to consult with a lawyer before finalizing or signing anything. At Campbell Bader LLP, our team of family law lawyers can help couples draft a marriage contract that reflects their mutually agreed needs and obligations. We can also advise co-habiting or common law couples about their legal rights and duties and assist in drafting co-habitation agreements that reflect their relationship.
Advantages of a Marriage Contract
A marriage contract can be used to not only protect individuals in the event that a relationship ends, but can also save time, money, and significant emotional stress, and may make a separation or divorce significantly less messy.
Marriage contracts can address any number of important matters between couples, including issues that often become highly contentious at the end of a relationship, such as property division or spousal support. Other things that may be addressed in a marriage contract include:
- Rights to pre-marriage property and other assets;
- Ownership of property purchased during the marriage;
- Protection from pre-marital debt, loans, and other financial obligations incurred by your spouse;
- Division of debt accumulated during the course of the marriage; and
- Variations to spousal support payments.
Importantly, marriage contracts cannot generally:
- Outline which spouse will get custody of any children;
- Delineate terms of access to any children;
- Limit the rights of a spouse to live in a matrimonial home.
In order to be valid under the law, marriage contracts in Ontario must be made after both parties have made a full and frank financial disclosure. This means that it may be set aside if one partner fails to disclose significant assets, debts or other liabilities.
Who May Want to Consider a Marriage Contract?
At Campbell Bader LLP, we recommend that every couple have a marriage contract in place. That being said, some couples may benefit more from such an agreement. For example, if one spouse has a high-net-worth or is bringing significant assets or property into the marriage, or in the alternative, if one spouse has a large amount of debt. Any discrepancy in wealth is best addressed through a marriage contract: both spouses can ensure their rights are protected by negotiating a fair agreement.
Another situation that lends itself to having a marriage contract is any relationship where one spouse intends to sacrifice their career or earning potential to provide childcare and other household support. An agreement can mitigate any potential economic disadvantage that could result from the arrangement, if a couple were to divorce, without the need for an expensive court process.
Business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals who run a firm or practice should also consider obtaining a marriage contract, since, in certain situations where there is no prenup, a spouse can claim an interest in the business.
At the end of the day, whether or not to have a marriage contract is a deeply personal and common-sense business decision best made after you obtain guidance from a family lawyer.
Campbell Bader LLP: Trusted Family Lawyers Advising Couples on Marriage Contracts
At Campbell Bader LLP, our team of exceptional family law lawyers offer cost-effective advice for couples considering a marriage contract and can help you draft an agreement that helps provide financial security, and peace of mind. Contact us online or at 905-828-2247. We look forward to speaking with you and going through this process by your side.