Marriage Agreement - What, for Who, and How to Get One
In this blog post, we’ll be outlining what a marriage agreement is, who qualifies for it, and how to get one.
Also known as a prenuptial agreement or prenup, a marriage agreement clearly outlines who owns what in case of a separation or death. It’s a good way to prevent future frustration, costs, and uncertainty as one enters a marriage.
Some common reasons people get a prenup are the following:
- substantial debt before the marriage (from student loans or a mortgage for example)
- substantial incoming revenue expected (from a business starting up for example)
- they’re planning on having children
- one or both parties has children from a past relationship
In accordance with BC’s Family Law Act, couples can set out to divide their properties in various ways. Commonly, they keep a ‘I’ll keep what’s mine, you keep what’s yours’ type of deal.
There are some limitations to the BC Family Law act though. For example, no agreement made before separation can address child support or parental responsibilities. A credible marriage agreement lawyer can help you navigate this complex process.
Before making the agreement, it’s important that both parties make full financial disclosure and get independent legal advice about the agreement. This is to avoid somebody saying “I didn’t know she got a lawyer!” Or “I didn’t know what so and so means!”
Some common reasons for the Supreme Court to set aside a marriage agreement are if one of the partners took advantage of the other (maybe they were in distress), didn’t disclose financial information, or didn’t understand the consequences of signing.
Some of the common components of a BC marriage agreement are the following:
- decide who gets what when it comes to property
- issues around child support
- what happens if one of the spouses dies?
- issues around spousal support (for example, if one spouse is a high earner and the other is a home maker)
- prevent going to court in the future (save lots of money, time, and frustration)
- set out guidelines on how money will be managed in the marriage
Here are some of the requirements of making a marriage agreement:
- it must be in writing
- must be signed by both partners and seen by a witness
- neither partner can be under a legal disability (doesn’t include being a minor. In other words, you can be under 19 and have the same rules apply to you if you’re getting married or having a child)
- both people have to enter the agreement with free will and not be forced to do it
If you're interested in entering into a marriage agreement, take a look at our page here or give us a call at 604-674-7755.
Bijan Law is a general practice law firm in downtown Vancouver. We can help you out whether you're entering a partnership for investment, starting or purchasing/selling a business, want to keep wealth within your family, immigrate to Canada, or resolve a dispute.