How can parents and children protect family assets?

With the average marriage in Canada, including in British Columbia, lasting less than 14 years, it is understandable that a person who holds any assets would want to draft a prenuptial agreement. For the same reason, families who own family businesses may want their children to establish marriage agreements to protect family assets. It is not uncommon for families to lose control of their companies when one of the children divorce.

In many cases, a business can be the income source of the parents and some or all of the children. However, nobody can be forced to sign a prenuptial agreement, and advisors say it is important for parents to approach the subject in the proper way. Both parties in a marriage must know that a marriage agreement is not a one-sided contract.

Some suggest that honest and open discussions include the soon-to-be spouse of one of the children, and that person must be allowed to express his or her concerns. Open conversations can lead to the sharing of expectations early in a relationship. Later, when the relationship becomes serious, discussions about how they will protect their respective interests will likely be less stressful.

A British Columbia divorce lawyer can assess the circumstances and assist with negotiations or even arrange mediation to encourage communication about the concerns of each party. A skilled lawyer can help with the drafting of a marriage agreement, and if there are concerns about the protection of family assets, that issue can be addressed. A satisfactory agreement may be reached if all parties can see that the suggested agreement brings a balanced approach that will be fair to all.

Source:, “How Different Generations Can See Eye-To-Eye On Prenups“, Nathalie Boutet, Accessed on May 5. 2017

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