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Marriage Agreements

Prenuptial Agreements as seen on CityTv News Clip interview of Eve Schwarz

Common law spouses can obtain the same rights as married spouses by preparing and executing a cohabitation agreement.

A cohabitation or marriage agreement is a written document where the parties to the agreement can provide for division of property, support or any other matter upon death or the termination of the relationship.

A cohabitation or marriage agreement could, therefore, incorporate all or some of the property provisions of the Family Law Act so that a common law couple would have the same rights and obligations of a married couple.

Each party must obtain independent legal advice concerning the contents of the agreement before they sign the agreement, otherwise it is very likely that the agreement will be set aside by the court.

A typical Marriage Agreement or Cohabitation Contract will, in the event of a breakdown of the relationship or marriage, provide for:

1. how the parties' property is to be divided;

2. whether spousal support is ever to be payable;

3. how jointly purchased or owned assets are to be divided;

4. special credit either party may receive for specific financial contributions to major assets, like a family home;

5. how a matrimonial home will be treated - e.g. - Will it be sold or held? How will the proceeds be divided?

6. clarification as to the exclusion of specific personal assets from division, such as inherited property, trust funds and assets, or interests in family trusts;

7. other specific personal or financial issues of importance to the parties.

All parties must have independent legal counsel when completing any domestic agreement.

As well, each party will be required to provide complete financial disclosure to the other, to ensure the solidity of the agreement, and to ensure complete fairness.

Contact us for more information or if you wish to obtain marriage agreements advice in your family law matter.

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