Toronto Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer
When you want to protect certain assets and property and exclude these items from being included as martial assets, it is important to have a family law lawyer in Toronto draft a legally binding prenuptial (marriage) agreement. In addition, a prenuptial agreement can be used by common law couples, who intend to live together, but do not get legally married. The purpose of this agreement is to help avoid conflict later, should the couple separate and get divorced and is used to determine the division or property and assets.
Besides detailing a list of property and assets to be excluded from the marriage or cohabitation, a prenuptial agreement can be used to spell out specific terms and conditions for other matters, should the couple separate or divorce. In some cases, couples include instructions for child custody and access, child support, and spousal support. However, these secondary items are not always enforceable due to various factors.
The Ontario Family Law Act clearly defines what can be included in a marriage contract. In order for the contract to be a legally binding document it needs to be prepared by a qualified Toronto family law firm. In cases where you already have a draft of the contract started, it does not hurt to have a lawyer review it, to ensure all items can be included and will be legally binding later, should you separate or get divorced.
Who Should Have a Prenuptial Agreement?
Anyone, who wants to protect property and assets they acquired before the marriage or cohabitation should have a prenuptial agreement. Additionally, any person in any of these situations needs to seriously consider getting a prenuptial agreement:
- People providing support for their elderly parents.Supporting your parents has a financial impact on your income, as well as after you get married. In the event the marriage ends, a prenuptial agreement can ensure the money used to support your parents is excluded from the marital assets.
- People getting married a second, third, or fourth time. Getting a prenuptial agreement protects any financial obligations you have to your formal spouse(s), as well as protects any assets you acquired during the previous marriage(s) and received in the divorce settlement(s).
- People with extensive assets. If you have accumulated a significant amount of property, investments, or wealth, getting a prenuptial agreement prior to getting married helps protect these assets.
- People, who have an estate plan or will. A prenuptial agreement can be tied to an estate plan or will and is used to exclude certain assets.
- People deciding to cohabitate together. If a couple cohabitates for three years or longer or has a child together, the Ontario Family Law Act treats certain aspects of the relationship similar to being legally married upon ending the relationship. A prenuptial agreement protects the assets of both people and creates a clear understanding of how assets will be divided.
As already mentioned, couples do not have to be legally married in order to have a prenuptial agreement. The law has two basic definitions for the word “spouse.” The first one, is the traditional sense, where two people were legally married. The other one, has to do with common law marriages, and is used after a couple has resided together for at least three years or longer, or has a child together.
Modifications to a Prenuptial Agreement
In most cases, once the prenuptial agreement has been created and executed, it cannot be modified. This is why it is essential to have the agreement reviewed by an experienced divorce lawyer in Toronto. Your lawyer will review the document, ask you questions, and verify the language of the document is legally binding, as well as incorporate certain protection clauses you either failed to consider or did not know to include had you drafted the agreement yourself.
Is a Prenuptial Agreement Really Legally Binding?
Prenuptial agreements are considered a flexible document since you are able to include just about any type of property or asset and how it is to be divided. Further, the law allows you to add secondary items, like terms and conditions for spousal support. While certain secondary items could be challenged in a court of law, the primary items are normally fully protected because the Family Law Act treats the agreement as a legally binding document, so long as it was executed correctly.
The proper execution of a prenuptial agreement requires certain elements in order to remain valid, should the document be challenged in a court of law, including:
- The agreement must be signed by both parties and witnessed by a lawyer.
- The agreement must have a certificate of independent legal advice attached to it.
- The agreement must fully disclose all assets, property, and debts in detail.
- The agreement must be in writing with permissible terms and matters.
- Both parties must be allowed to seek legal counsel before signing the document.
- Both parties must be allowed to have equal power in bargaining during the documents creation.
Due to these elements, and others, it is clear to see why obtaining assistance from Niroomand Family Law is vital to ensure your prenuptial agreement is drafted and executed properly. Call800-567-0256 to learn more about prenuptial agreements and having one created by our Toronto family law firm.