A Marriage Contract or a Pre-Nuptial Agreement? They are actually the exact same thing.
In Ontario, a marriage contract is a separation agreement written by the couple pre-marriage, detailing what will happen in the event of a divorce or other legal separation. Although some couples find this distasteful, as they are just about to get married, others consider it to be prudent and responsible to negotiate everything beforehand. This often results in a fairer agreement between a couple, as they won’t be entering into the marriage contract negotiations with the negative mindset that often comes with divorce.
What is the Benefit of a Marriage Contract?
A marriage contract puts a couple in control of the “fallout” of a divorce.
Without a marriage contract, the court will often decide how the joint property and wealth gets split between a couple after a divorce, following the Family Law Act of Ontario. With a legally binding marriage contract, a couple is able to specify exactly what will happen after a separation, thus greatly simplifying the divorce. Everyone knows exactly what they are going to get, as it was negotiated before the marriage even happened.
In the event of a divorce, a marriage contract usually contains:
- The level of spousal support
- The value of property that both parties owned prior to the marriage
- How that property will be divided between the couple
- How any children will be raised and educated (This includes religion)
A marriage contract cannot include details of child support, child custody, or visitation rights, as these are the rights of the child. They must be negotiated through divorce proceedings.
As a marriage contract is simply a legal agreement between a couple and financial situations can change, it can be altered at any time, if both parties wish. This new marriage contract will supplant the original separation agreement and become the new legally binding contract. It is an excellent idea to hire an experienced family lawyer to rewrite this important legal document.
What if A Marriage Contract is Unfair?
One of the most important reasons that each party should hire independent family lawyers is to negotiate a fair and mutually agreeable to contract. If either of the parties feel that they are being psychologically pressured by the other into signing the contract, or one of the parties doesn’t fully disclose their financial and property holdings prior to signing, this could be grounds for the marriage contract to be contested in court. If you feel there are legal grounds to challenge your marriage contract, you should hire an experienced family lawyer to represent you and your best interests.
If you’re seeking to negotiate and write a legally binding marriage contract prior to the ceremony, Baidwan & Baidwan Lawyers LLP would be happy to help. Baidwan & Baidwan is a full-service law firm that specializes in family, criminal, and real estate law. If you need a family lawyer in Brampton who has experience in negotiating contracts, then you are in the right place. For a family divorce lawyer who will work tirelessly to guide you through this incredible difficult time, whether you are seeking an annulment or wish to learn how to get a divorce, please don’t hesitate to call us at 905-230-8888. We would be happy to give you a free half-hour consultation to begin to guide you towards a more stable, happier future.