Sometimes called a “pre-nup,” it is often disparaged because some people say it coldly takes the romance out of a pending marriage and assumes the couple will end up divorcing.
A marriage contract is simply an agreement between two people on how property and assets will be divided in the event that a marriage fails, and whether there will be spousal support payments.
If there is a great disparity in wealth or income between the couple, a marriage contract makes sense because it allows for a calm discussion when everybody is happy rather fighting over every little issue if the relationship deteriorates and ends. A court is bound by the agreement unless a judge sets it aside because, for example, it violates Ontario law.
Judges rely on a marriage contract in determining support and property issues if a case comes before them, providing that the marriage contract is not blatantly one-sided. Judges have been known to set aside marriage contracts where one spouse clearly has taken a huge advantage over the other.
We’ve helped happy couples draft marriage contracts that are fair to both parties, and will pass scrutiny by a judge if worst comes to worst.
It’s not that we are not romantic or don’t believe in happily ever after; rather, we encourage marriage contracts because family is important to you and me.
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