Prenuptial Agreements Lawyer in Hamilton


When people think of a prenuptial agreement, they often bring up stereotypical images of wealthy spouses seeking to protect themselves during their inevitable divorces. But this stereotype fails to realistically portray the usefulness of premarital agreements.

You don’t have to be rich to have a desire to protect your savings and the property you’ve worked hard to acquire. And just because you decide a premarital agreement might be right for you doesn’t mean you want the marriage to fail or believe that it will.

As society continues to change and evolve, more and more people are entering into their second or third marriages. This is where marriage contracts become increasingly important, as there may be children from prior marriages who may not be entitled to certain assets if a marriage contract is not in existence. If you need help deciding whether a prenup is right for you, call a prenuptial agreement lawyer at our firm to discuss the specifics of your case.

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

Sometimes, two people will enter into a contract prior to marriage, setting out rules about their marriage, and what will happen in the event of marriage breakdown. In the US, these agreements are commonly referred to as prenuptial agreements. In Canada, prenups are more commonly referred to as “domestic contracts” or “marriage contracts.”

Additionally, two persons may either prior to or during cohabitation enter into a cohabitation agreement. If two persons who are cohabitating later get married, then their cohabitation agreement will become a domestic contract.

What is Included in Marriage Contract?

Typically, a marriage contract is drawn up by a family law lawyer in advance of a marriage, and outlines an agreement on matters such as:

  • property brought into the marriage;
  • division of property upon separation;
  • asset distribution in case of death; and
  • spousal support.

What Cannot be Included in a Marriage Contract?

  • Child custody and access terms: Child custody and access is determined by provisions within the Family Law Act and must be centred around the best interests for the child. Attempts to circumnavigate the rules and procedures via a marriage contract will not be enforceable in court.
  • Rights to the matrimonial home: Under the Family Law Act, both parties to a marriage have an equal right to live in the matrimonial home, and this cannot be altered with an agreement to the contrary via a marriage contract. Both parties will retain equal rights to remain in the home until a separation agreement signed by both parties or court order for exclusive possession is obtained.

What are the benefits of a prenuptial agreement?

There are a number of benefits to a prenup.

  • Certainty. You and your partner can set out in precise detail the way that your net assets and resources will be divided between you if you separate in the future.

  • Finality. The prenup sets out how your assets will be divided, in a way that ensures that the Family Court cannot negate or alter the agreement. This makes sure that any potential dispute is dealt with by the agreement itself.

  • Security. A prenup offers peace of mind about how future arrangements will be carried out. This means both spouses can make better plans without worrying what will happen in the future.

  • Protect Inheritances. If you have children during your marriage, you need to protect the property they might inherit. After divorce, you or your partner may decide to remarry, and it’s important to define what assets your children can legally claim so it is never brought into question.

These assets could include:

  • family heirlooms; or
  • certain funds or bonds.

  • Save Time and Money. Divorce is expensive and time-consuming. Even if you and your spouse agree on every legal issue that plagues a typical divorce, you may still end up spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars in court costs and possible legal fees before a judge formally terminates your marriage. Many couples begin the divorce process on the same page, but as time passes, spouses tend to disagree on significant issues, which costs more and takes additional time.

You can create a domestic/Marriage contract even if you are already married or living together

Despite the American term prenup (short for pre-nuptial) domestic contracts can be created at any point in a relationship. There is no legal reason why a domestic contract needs to be finalized before marriage or cohabitation. Domestic contacts can be created if one person comes into a considerable sum of money (such as inheritance) during the marriage or cohabitation and wants to protect it. Even so, many lawyers say that it is a good idea to start discussing a domestic contract before you move in together or get engaged. This may seem unrealistic (and unromantic) but putting the idea out on the table as soon as you know the relationship is serious is a good rule of thumb.

Consult a Hamilton Prenuptial Agreement Attorney

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. If you’re considering a prenuptial agreement or have already made your decision you’re invited to call or email us. We’ll explain for free how you can protect your assets and plan your estate.

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Our Process

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Evaluate Situation

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