Prenuptial agreements often have a bad reputation and are frequently misunderstood. They can be important tools to use to protect yourself and your assets going into a marriage. What's more: they offer transparency, and that's a good place to start a marriage.
At Potestio Law, our family law attorney can help you understand if a prenuptial agreement is right for you. To learn more, please call us at 416-203-2429 or visit the contact page to schedule a complimentary consultation.
What is a prenuptial agreement?
When two people are about to head down the aisle, they sometimes enter into a prenuptial agreement first. A prenuptial agreement is a before-marriage contract that lays out the specifics of what will happen to the property they own should the marriage fail.
Prenuptial agreements can be used to address many different issues, including:
- What property should be considered marital and what should be considered separate. Instead of having a judge decide, you can decide beforehand.
- Protections for certain property. For example, if the engagement ring is a family heirloom on the spouse's side, the parties may agree that in the event of divorce, the ring goes back to the husband.
- You may agree that should one or both spouses want a divorce, the parties are required to go through mediation or arbitration.
Prenuptial agreements cannot be used to address certain issues, including:
- Custody and issues of child support are not allowed to be addressed in prenuptial agreements. The court will determine what is in the child's best interest, not the parents.
- Courts do not like provisions that address personal rather than financial issues. For example, a prenuptial agreement should not contain a provision stating where the parties will spend their holidays.
- A prenuptial agreement should not be used to address anything that is illegal. For example, if the family earns money through the sale of illegal drugs, who gets that business in case of divorce is not allowed to be addressed.
To be sure your prenuptial agreement is enforceable, it is best to make the terms as fair as possible to both parties.
Who should have a prenuptial agreement?
While many people can benefit from the use of a prenuptial agreement, it is especially beneficial for people who:
- Own a business. This helps protect the business in case of divorce.
- Own significant assets, as a prenuptial agreement can help keep them protected.
- Have children from a previous marriage. A prenuptial agreement can assist in protecting the inheritance of those children.
Contrary to popular opinion, prenuptial agreements aren't just for the wealthy. They can provide needed protection to people from all walks of life.
Do you need a family law attorney in Ontario for a prenuptial agreement?
While you may be tempted to draft your own prenuptial agreement before getting married, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney regarding how these contracts work in Ontario, including what you can and cannot address. Courts have a tendency to look for reasons to find these agreements unenforceable, so the help of an attorney is almost necessary to ensure your prenuptial agreement is upheld in case of divorce.
Protecting your assets and family are important. Make sure your prenuptial agreement is designed to do just that but in a way it complies with the law. If you'd like to book a complimentary consultation, please call us at 416-203-2429 or visit the contact page.