A prenuptial agreement, also known as a marriage agreement, is a legal contract signed by a couple before they get married or enter into a common-law relationship. The purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to establish the financial and property rights of each party in the event of a divorce, separation or breakdown of a relationship. It allows couples to predetermine the division of assets, property, debts, and spousal support in case the relationship/marriage ends.
Marriage agreements are not only intended for the wealthy; they can be useful for any couple who wants to protect their individual assets, interests, or investments brought in before the relationship. Here are some common reasons why people consider prenups:
- Protecting pre-marital assets: A prenup can specify that any assets acquired before the marriage remain the property of the original owner in case of divorce.
- Defining property division: Couples can outline how their marital property will be divided rather than relying on state laws, which may not align with their preferences.
- Establishing alimony or spousal support: Couples can agree on the amount and duration of spousal support payments in the event of a divorce.
- Addressing debts: Prenuptial agreements can determine who is responsible for certain debts incurred before or during the marriage.
- Protecting family inheritance: A prenup can ensure that family inheritances stay within the original family in case of divorce.
In addition, each party has an obligation to provide the other party with a full picture of their financial position, which is called financial disclosure.
It’s also essential for couples to have open and honest communication about the agreement to avoid potential conflicts later. Some people view prenups as unromantic or distrustful, so discussing the matter openly can help foster a better understanding of each other’s perspectives and reasons for considering a prenuptial agreement.
It’s important to note that prenuptial agreements are subject to certain legal requirements and may vary by province. Both parties should consult separate lawyers for independent legal advice to ensure their rights are protected and the agreement is valid and enforceable.
A marriage agreement is a contract, and as other contracts should be in writing, the signature of the parties should be witnessed, and both parties should have enough time to review, negotiate, and think about the terms of the contract.
The thought of a marriage agreement is viewed by some as unromantic, but realistically you are protecting your own rights, such as any assets before your relationship, inheritance or pension.
To protect your rights and future contact, speak with a Vancouver Lawyer.