There are many legal effects that arise when couples marry or live together in a common-law relationship. Couples who wish to add an element of stability and certainty to their union can enter into a contractual agreement that will resolve many of their personal and financial issues. This agreement can finalize the terms of a relationship that often create conflict and, when times are difficult, can be difficult to discuss.
The family law group at Mann Lawyers advises individuals throughout Ottawa and Eastern Ontario on the negotiation of a marriage or cohabitation agreement with their partner. With our clients’ best interests at the forefront, we guide them through the terms, conditions and duration of relationship contracts.
How a Lawyer Helps
A lawyer can help you negotiate a cohabitation or prenuptial agreement with your spouse; a lawyer can also help ensure the agreement is drafted in such way as to be legally binding. Among the requirements are full financial disclosure by each party and independent legal advice for each person.
A cohabitation agreement becomes the marriage agreement when couples marry, unless the agreement specifies that it terminates upon marriage. Our lawyers can help you determine the appropriate structure and termination provision for your cohabitation agreement. A marriage agreement, although commonly understood as a prenuptial agreement, can in fact be signed at any time, whether before or after marriage. Even if the couple is already married, they may choose to put their intentions on paper.
Contents of an Agreement
Couples can decide on all the major issues related to their union, with the exception of child custody, in a cohabitation or marriage agreement. Among the issues to include are:
- Spousal support
- Property division upon separation
- Asset ownership
Cohabitation and marriage agreements give couples the security of knowing that conflict will be minimized in the event their relationship runs into challenges. These agreements are appropriate for many couples in all stages of life, but are often sought by individuals entering into second or subsequent relationships.