Technically, we don’t call them pre-nups in Ontario: they are marriage contracts or cohabitation agreements. All marriage contracts, cohabitation agreements and separation agreements are domestic contracts.
Why would you want a marriage contract or a cohabitation agreement?
The laws that apply when a couple separates (or one partner passes away) might not work for your relationship. Marriage contracts and cohabitation agreements allow you to negotiate while you are in love and getting along what will happen financially if you separate or if one of you dies. You and your partner can decide ahead of time what will happen to your property if your relationship ends, and what are your expectations about financial support after your relationship ends. Marriage contracts and cohabitation agreements can be very helpful to ensure the desired outcome:
- In second or later marriages or cohabitations;
- When you are juggling careers and children;
- When you want to live together or get married but remain financially distinct; and
- In many other situations.
A marriage contract or cohabitation agreement can avoid nasty surprises:
- I have to share the increase in the value of my business?
- I have to share revenue from my business?
- I have to share the value of my house?
- I supported my spouse all through our relationship and now I have to keep supporting him or her even though he or she has left me?
- I am only receiving $X from his or her estate?
Having the necessary discussions to put in place a marriage contract or cohabitation agreement can get your relationship on solid footing by eliminating or reducing hidden agendas and unstated assumptions. We have tools to allow you to have a robust discussion about the financial consequences of your relationship ending. We can help you negotiate a domestic contract in a collaborative fashion in order to strengthen your relationship.
Booking a Consultation with a Family Lawyer
Sometimes, at our initial consultation, you find out that the laws that would apply at the end of the relationship suit you fine. In that case, there may be no need to take the further step of negotiating and signing a domestic contract. In some cases, you find out how to structure your affairs to minimize your financial risk even if you do not negotiate and sign a domestic contract. In some cases, you find out that it is important to you to do this work with your partner.
Call or email to arrange to discuss your situation.