It is not uncommon for people in British Columbia to take out auto and personal property insurance to protect them in cases of unfortunate accidents or other events that cause property damage. So why are so many people nervous of even mentioning prenuptial agreements before marriages? Marriage or cohabitation agreements can provide the same peace of mind as that provided by auto insurance.
The difference between a prenuptial and a cohabitation agreement is when these documents are signed. A prenuptial agreement is signed prior to the legal marriage service, while a cohabitation agreement may only be signed after a couple has lived together for one year. If one or both of the parties has something of value to protect, it may be wise to consider drafting such an agreement. Also, the potential accumulation of assets during the marriage can form part of such a document. The financial stabilities of both spouses or cohabitants can be protected in the event of a break-up.
In many cases, couples are carelessly in love and fail to consider how circumstances may change in the future. To avoid the need for expensive litigation in the event couples decide to go their separate ways, real estate, investments, other property and even who will get the pets can be specified in prenuptial or cohabitation agreements. However, there are some limitations as to what can be included, such as child support, that can only be decided by the court.
Couples in British Columbia who want to protect themselves by drafting prenuptial or cohabitation agreements will be best advised to secure the services of separate legal representatives. With the support and guidance of an experienced family law attorney, each party’s interests can be protected. Legal counsel can also assist with the occasional revision of such documents to keep them relevant and written in language that will ensure their validity in court in the event of a break-up.
Source: theglobeandmail.com, “Marriage, co-habitation contracts can be good investments“, Aleksandra Sagan, Oct. 28, 2016