What is a Marriage Agreement?
A marriage agreement (you have likely heard the term “prenuptial agreement” on television numerous times) is made before a couple (heterosexual or same-sex) gets married. In some cases, they are made after the couple gets married. If a common-law couple has a cohabitation agreement, it automatically gets converted into a Marriage Agreement if they get married
It is a contract between parties which lays out their current and future intentions. It can be thought of as a set of rules agreed upon between the couple which determines what steps would be taken should they divorce, or should one of the parties die.
Marriage Agreements are often stereotyped to be something that the rich and famous get, but they are becoming more and more common among the average person, with a large number of Canadians signing them each year.
Why does someone decide that they want a Marriage Agreement?
There are various reasons why people get a Marriage Agreement, but the main ones include:
- To protect ones property that they had before entering the marriage
- To protect one from the debt of their partner
- If there are children from a previous relationship
It can also be a way of either party knowing how genuine the other is about the relationship, say for example, if one of the parties is very wealthy.
Marriage Agreements are enforceable by the Court, which is why it is so important that they are prepared properly. They are as legally binding as any other type of contract.
A proper Marriage Agreement MUST have full disclosure and honesty, as well as:
(1) Be in writing
(2) Be signed by both parties
(3) Have a witness
Is it necessary to get a lawyer involved?
To avoid problems down the road, it is important and highly recommended for both parties to obtain independent legal advice. This will prevent anyone from claiming that they didn’t know what they were signing or that they didn’t have the opportunity to discuss the Marriage Agreement with a lawyer. Having the involvement of a lawyer will ensure that the contract is binding and bulletproof.
Couples may also want to use the services of a mediator in the negotiation and discussion phase to ensure that they are covering all bases.
Getting caught up in the romance can often cloud a person’s judgment when it comes to the topic of Marriage Agreements because no one enters a marriage thinking they are going to get divorced. However, when close to half of marriages end in divorce, it is the smart thing to do.
Have questions about Marriage Agreements in BC? Contact Clean Divorce today for a FREE 20-minute initial consultation. Serving clients in Vancouver, New Westminster, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Richmond, Surrey, and the rest of the Lower Mainland.