Prenuptial & Cohabitation Agreements
While no one wants to think about the possibility of separation and divorce, statistics show that thirty-eight percent of all Canadians who marry will separate or divorce. So, one does well to prepare and provide for what will happen to their hard-earned assets if their relationship fails… just in case. The law sets out what will happen to your property if you separate without an agreement in place. You and your loved one can stay in the driver’s seat by taking courage, planning ahead and creating an agreement between yourselves. You can make valid binding arrangements that are different from those provided for by the Family Law Act.
You can’t make enforceable arrangements about custody, access or Child Support in your agreement. The law concerning children is based in the belief that the circumstances concerning the best interest of the children may always be changing and that therefore issues concerning them can only be decided at the time of separation.
You may however agree on:
What property you are both bringing into the marriage and how much of its value you wish to keep separate throughout the marriage;
How your personal and family property will be dealt with if separation occurs;
Whether and what amount of spousal support will be payable upon separation;
Allocating economic responsibility for running the household during the marriage;
Agreeing on what happens to property if you should die.
Nearly half of all Canadian couples live Common-Law which means that you do everything that married couples normally do except without the contract of legal marriage. However, unlike legally married couples, common-law couples are not entitled to Equalization of Net Family Property or to possession of the family home upon separation. In addition, the cost of proving who created the assets and liabilities and therefore of proving entitlement to that asset or responsibility for a debt at separation is very high without documentation.
Cohabitation Agreements are meant to set out in a legally binding contract who retains ownership of what if and when the relationship ends, who will move out of the family home, if and how much support will be paid and by whom and how property will be divided. You can determine how debts accrued in the relationship will be settled as well, differentiating between family debt and personal debts.
These agreements are legally enforceable, so whether you are seeking to have one done, have done one and need some legal advice on changes to it or are considering marriage and want to change the Cohabitation Agreement to a Prenuptial Agreement you should each seek independent Legal Counsel.
At Sterling Law, we listen to your concerns, gain an understanding of the type of security you want or need and set it forth with considerations for the future… all with an understanding of what is truly enforceable and what is not. You never plan for a break-up but if it must happen, ensure that your strategy is to be prepared for a smooth transition and not left to the mercy of the circumstances that may exist at the end of your relationship.
We endure many hardships and make untold sacrifice for our loved ones. So when a separation or divorce occurs, we are wounded at the core. The bravest of us wither; we crumble; we become unable to perform our basic day-to-day activities, much less take on the legal system. At Sterling Law we understand. We are ready to address your situation now to ensure that you safeguard your family and property.
Not only do we understand the intricacies of all the issues involved; Equally importantly, we at Sterling Law understand that this is one of the most challenging times you’ll ever experience.
We have well over 25 years of experience and understand what you’re going through.