If you’re planning to get married within the next year then it may be prudent to consider a prenuptial agreement. These agreements can protect your finances and set aside non-marital property before you tie the knot.
While some people believe that prenuptial agreements are only for the very wealthy, the truth is almost anyone can benefit from them. They can help you protect an inherited home, intellectual property, a business you’ve built from the ground up, or an inheritance.
They’re also far less expensive than “postnuptial” agreements, which are really just divorce decrees. Prenuptials handle every major issue of the marriage except for child support and child custody. This means there’s a lot less to argue about should you need to negotiate a divorce settlement later on in life.
Should I sign a prenup agreement?
You should have your lawyer look over the proposed agreement before you sign anything. Yet in general, as long as the agreement is well-written and fair to both sides then yes, signing a prenuptial agreement can be an excellent idea.
Think of it this way. You are pre-negotiating how each spouse will be treated in the event the marriage ends but are doing so at the moment that both of you are the most warmly disposed towards one another. There will never be a better time to get these negotiations out of the way.
Yet you should not be afraid to ask for a more equitable arrangement if your lawyer finds something unbalanced in the prenuptial agreement.
Keep in mind the agreement will not be valid unless both sides have a lawyer to look out for their interests during the drafting process.
Do prenups hold up in court in Canada?
A prenup will hold up in court in Canada so long as nobody was pressured into the agreement, nobody was coerced or threatened, and it was not signed under false or fraudulent pretenses. You also have to ensure the agreement is not one sided or the judge may choose not to honor it.
It’s also a good idea to review and update your prenup every 5 years to ensure that it still reflects your current financial situation. If you’ve had a massive change in fortunes since your prenup is written it just won’t be very useful as it will still leave a great many questions unanswered about what’s to be done about the property or what spousal support amount might be fair. You should continue to involve your lawyer in this process.
What is fair in a prenup?
This varies a great deal depending on your unique situation. In general it’s fair to protect property that you could rightly call non-marital property to begin with, like the business you’re bringing into the marriage, or an inherited home that you’re bringing in the marriage.
It is not fair to try to put together a situation where the spouse walks away with “nothing” if a divorce happens.
Bring your lawyers the details of your situation and your spouse’s situation. They will help you get a feel for what “fair” looks like in your specific case.
Why Merchant Law?
Each of our family law lawyers has 20 to 30 years of practice behind them. We know exactly how to help you protect yourself before tying the knot. We’re known for being tough negotiators who will look out for your best interests.
To get started, call (604) 535-7777 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, or visit our office at 63337 198 St #101, Langley City, BC.