Beard Winter LLP | Toronto Specialty Services
Why You Should Consider a Marriage Contract
by Jennifer Samara Shuber – Certified Specialist in Family Law
Couples might be hesitant about signing a marriage contract out of fear that a contract pre-supposes the end of the relationship. I prefer to look at a marriage contract as a way of getting your financial house in order before you begin a new phase of life. Like a life insurance policy or a will, a marriage contract lets you plan your finances to fit your lifestyle and specific needs.
Broaching the idea of a contract is delicate. It forces a candid and honest discussion about money and requires you and your fiance to discuss your future plans and expectations.
- Will you each be financially self-sufficient or do you anticipate sharing income and assets?
- What if you stay home to care for children?
- Should your financial obligations to each other change if the relationship lasts five or even 25 years?
- Do you want the same result if the relationship ends due to either separation or death?
- What about the house?
- What if you work in or have shares in a family business?
- Or expect to receive a large gift or inheritance?
- Do your parents have expectations that these things will stay in the family?
- What if one of you owes significantly more debt than the other?
A marriage contract can address all of these issues and more.
A common marriage contract provision deals with the matrimonial home. Without a contract, the law mandates equal sharing of the value of the matrimonial home, even if only one of you owns it when you marry or your contributions to the property are not the same.
We will walk you through the entire negotiation process, explain how your legal rights are affected and be mindful that your ongoing relationship should not be hurt by the negotiation. As these contracts are not “off-the-shelf”, we will tailor the approach and terms to suit your particular circumstances.
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