Ottawa Prenuptial Agreements Lawyer

A prenuptial agreement is a formal contract between two people who are going to marry at some point. This type of contract is also known by several other names, such as an antenuptial agreement, a pre-marital agreement, or simply a prenup. Soon-to-be-married couples often utilize a prenuptial contract when one or both of them want to protect their current assets or future property earned throughout the marriage.

This can be done as a precaution to a potential future divorce or just as a way to keep each other’s assets organized during the marriage. A knowledgeable Ottawa prenuptial agreements lawyer understands the importance of protecting your property and is available 24/7 to help draft a fair and secure marital contract that adequately addresses your concerns.

When Should a Prenup be Used?

An antenuptial contract allows you to plan for the future, protect your current and future property rights, and reduce potential risks if something happens to your marriage in the future.

Individuals often have concerns regarding their assets prior to marrying their spouse, which could be alleviated with a well-executed prenuptial agreement. For instance, one spouse might own a home, a business, or other significant assets that were purchased or started prior to the marriage. Additionally, there could be instances where one spouse invested more into purchasing a property or other asset.

A prenup could also protect your income by providing a waiver of spousal support if you and your spouse ever become separated or divorced. A skilled prenup contract lawyer in Ottawa could evaluate your circumstances to develop an agreement that reflects the nuance of your relationship and property expectations.

Prenuptial Agreements Are Not All About Divorce or Separation

Most of the time, the terms of a prenuptial agreement are drafted with a potential divorce or separation in mind. However, it should be noted that these agreements could also be useful during the lifetime of a relationship. For example, it could determine how a specific asset is treated or who is responsible for maintaining it.

Some assets require upkeep. A prenuptial agreement could not only determine that a certain asset is considered separate property, but it could also spell out that the spouse that brought the asset into the marriage is responsible for its upkeep. The agreement could also include terms that convert the asset into marital property if marital funds are used for its upkeep.

Content of a Prenuptial Agreement

A prenup typically includes terms relating to the division of property and spousal support arrangements, according to Ontario’s Family Law Act §52. Additionally, agreements entered into prior to marriage could include a forfeiture clause that provides for a forfeiture of certain assets if a divorce is sought based on adultery or similar grounds.

Certain criteria must be met for a prenuptial contract to be legally valid according to Family Law Act, including:

  • The agreement must be in writing, signed by both parties, and witnessed by an additional party
  • Both parties must fully disclose their assets and liabilities, including debts
  • Both parties must have legal representation or the option of legal representation throughout the course of the agreement
  • There can be no fraud, duress, undue influence, or unconscionable actions by either party
  • The agreement must only cover matters permitted by the Family Law Act

Courts commonly uphold a prenup if it is clear that the contract was negotiated freely and agreed upon by both parties, even if circumstances change that might make the agreement unfair later. It is important to note that pre-marital agreements cannot include terms on the care and wellbeing of children. An experienced Ottawa prenup lawyer understands the requirements for a legally valid contract that complies with the relevant laws.

Prenups and Homeownership

The rights associated with home ownership can impact a prenuptial agreement differently than other marital assets. Some of the rights guaranteed to homeowners cannot be altered by the terms of an agreement, even if both spouses are willing to sign.

The place where a married couple lives during their marriage is known as the matrimonial home. The law provides both spouses with equal rights to the matrimonial home. This includes the right to live in and possess the property. This is true no matter who holds legal title to the property or who was the registered owned prior to the marriage. Should the parties separate, the party that legally owns the property cannot prevent their spouse from entering or living there without an order issued by the court. A prenuptial agreement cannot affect these rights.

Modifying a Prenuptial Agreement

Prenuptial agreements are legally binding, but they are not written in stone. Under the right circumstances, the spouses bound by the agreement could amend its terms. While these documents are designed to avoid uncertainty in a marriage, there are times when changing circumstances could make a modification the right choice.

The terms of the agreement are important. In some prenups, it might not be possible to modify the terms. In others, it may only take a new writing executed by both parties. Some marital contracts even have terms where specific clauses of the agreement no longer apply after a set amount of time.

Of course, there are strict limitations on when this is possible. Both parties must be on the same page before modification is possible. Because of these obstacles, it is often beneficial to have a well-practiced Ottawa prenup lawyer like Paul Riley by your side.

Having Qualified Legal Counsel on Your Side Is Crucial

There are options available that help with drafting a prenuptial agreement without legal assistance. The reality is that these alternatives are ill-prepared to provide you with the nuanced guidance you need. Every couple is different, and one-size-fits-all solutions might not work for you.

When you work with a diligent Ottawa lawyer like Paul Riley, you can ensure your prenuptial agreement is tailored to your specific situation. You can also count on your dedicated legal counsel to advise you on aspects of the law you might not be aware of.

Contact an Ottawa Prenuptial Agreements Lawyer Now

A prenup can sometimes get a bad reputation; however, it could help both parties set expectations about their financial situations and future together. Due to the many requirements for a valid pre-marital contract and the lasting consequences of such agreements, it is important to utilize available legal assistance. A seasoned Ottawa prenuptial agreements lawyer could help draft an effective and legally valid prenup to prevent ambiguity and risks in the future. Schedule a consultation any time by calling our firm.

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