Either before getting married or after, many couples in Ontario create formal agreements to address property rights and how certain issues would be resolved in the event of a divorce. Creating a marital agreement does not guarantee that a marriage will end in divorce – in fact, it can be immensely helpful when in avoiding future conflict and uncertainty that may otherwise interfere with a relationship.
If you would like to explore this option for you and your partner, consider contacting a Toronto marital agreements lawyer to discuss your unique situation. On top of helping to decide whether this is the right move for your marriage, a seasoned family lawyer could also provide guidance throughout the process of drafting and enforcing this kind of contract.
There are numerous reasons why creating a marital agreement—such as a prenup or postnup—could be beneficial for a married or engaged couple in Toronto, but perhaps the most prominent is that you will have more direct control over your assets in the event of a future divorce. Provincial law dictates that married couples who get divorced without such a contract in place are each entitled to an equal share of the marital estate (i.e., all shared assets and debts), which may not be an ideal situation for every marriage.
If you or your spouse have a substantially higher net worth or own valuable assets that are likely to increase in value over time, a well-crafted spousal agreement would allow you to set out instructions in advance to ensure any future division of marital assets does not have an inequitable outcome. Likewise, marital contracts can include terms on how business partnerships and interests will be handled in the event of a divorce.
Furthermore, a marital agreement can establish what obligations one party would have to financially support the other should you ever get divorced. These contracts give you more autonomy and leave fewer decisions to a judge who knows nothing about your circumstances. It may be best to ask a Toronto lawyer how a marital contact would function in your relationship.
A marital agreement drafted in Toronto must meet specific conditions in order to be considered valid and enforceable in an Ontario family court. On a basic level, a spousal contract must be submitted in writing and signed by both parties in the presence of witnesses, and both parties must fully disclose all their assets, debts, and financial interests to ensure the drafting process is as fair as possible.
If a judge determines that one or both parties to a marital contract failed to disclose certain assets, did not fully understand the impact the contract would have on them, or otherwise violated contract law in some way, they may choose to void a portion of the agreement or the entire contract. Furthermore, these contracts cannot make legally binding declarations related to the care and well-being children.
Drafting a marital contract may seem like a big and unnecessary step to take if you are already happily engaged or married. However, ironing out potentially contentious financial issues ahead of time is often a great way to make your marriage stronger and more transparent without making a divorce inevitable by any means.
Assistance from a Toronto marital agreements lawyer could be key to protecting your best interests throughout this process. Get in touch with Paul Riley 24/7 to schedule a meeting.
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