A Prenuptial Agreement often referred to as a “Domestic Contract” or a “Marriage Contract” in some provinces and territories in Canada, is a legally binding contract entered before marriage.
Sometimes, it’s also called an “Antenuptial Agreement” or a “Premarital Agreement” and is abbreviated as a “Prenup.”
If the contract is signed before marriage, it is a prenuptial agreement. Contracts signed after marriage are “marriage contracts.” If a common-law couple enters into an agreement of such nature, it is referred to as a Cohabitation Agreement in Canada.
In this article, we’ll know how to find a prenuptial agreement lawyer in Canada. Before that, let’s know—
What Does a Prenuptial Contract Do?
Establishing a prenuptial contract is not necessarily looking forward to imminent divorce. Rather, it’s a smart financial decision.
It acts as insurance, outlining each spouse’s financial decisions if they decide to dissolve the marriage in the future.
If a couple has a prenup arranged and decide to get a divorce, they wouldn’t have to go through the financial and emotional stress of dividing every one of their assets.
Following is a breakdown of the generally presented terms in prenups:
Rules about Marital Assets
Prenuptial agreements protect both spouses’ rights and obligations to their property. It decides which items are marital assets and which are separate in a divorce.
Protect Spouses from Each Other’s Debts
Prenups have the ability to limit each spouse’s debt liability if stated so. Hence, creditors can’t go after all the material assets if one of the spouses accrues debt.
Protect Children from Previous Marriages and/or Relationships
Prenups can have terms that entitle one or both of the spouses’ children from previous marriages or relationships.
Protect Family Property
Heirlooms, inheritances, businesses, and other family-owned properties can be registered in the prenup to maintain ownership within the family and not have a dispute over it in the event of a divorce procedures.
In simpler words, prenups protect any financial assets if included while the agreement is formed.
However, a prenup can’t determine personal obligations, determine and resolve child custody or child support issues, defy criminal law or public policy, or enforce alimony.
Things to Know about Setting Up a Prenuptial Agreement
Remember the following while preparing for a prenuptial agreement:
- List the property and assets you and your fiancé separately own
- Identify the assets obtained jointly
- Have a list of your individual debts and liabilities
- Prepare a list of any inheritance you’re entitled to
- Have your financial goals thoroughly discussed and on paper if needed
- Keep a list of important financial decisions you wish to include in the agreement
Reasons for Hiring a Lawyer for a Prenuptial Agreement
You should definitely hire a lawyer before creating a prenuptial agreement. The reasons are as follows:
Drafting a Valid Prenuptial Agreement
A court might declare the prenup if it is observed that one of the parties did not have independent legal representation while creating the agreement.
It’s not mandatory for either party to have legal representation. However, courts will maintain caution before they enforce a prenuptial agreement anyway while dealing with a party whose legal representation is independent.
Parties without any legal representation might find the prenup unfair, and concerns about conflict or duress may rise. In such situations, the court can choose to directly invalidate the prenup.
Covering All Procedural Requirements
The timeline imposed by states to execute prenups is quite strict. You might need to execute the prenup certain days before the wedding. A specific review time might also be defined for all parties before signing. A prenup lawyer can make it easier for both parties to make informed decisions and meet all procedural requirements.
Protecting Your Best Interest
If you’re considering a prenuptial agreement with your partner, it’s certainly a good idea to hire a prenuptial lawyer. A prenup lawyer would be able to provide legally and financially sound advice that helps you make appropriate decisions to protect both party’s best interests.
Better Understanding of Various Family Law
A good prenup lawyer would be aware of all the different family laws that apply to you and your partner and get the best for you out of any unpleasant situation.
The laws also differ across provinces. It is mandatory to be aware of the situation from all aspects.
How to Find a Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer in Canada?
While choosing a lawyer is an important decision, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Following are the things to consider when hiring a prenuptial agreement lawyer:
1. Being Comfortable
Just like therapists, you need to be absolutely comfortable with your lawyer. Can you speak freely in front of them? When you try to explain your situation and requirements, do they understand?
Are they respectful and compassionate about you and your situation? These considerations are very important.
Always go for a lawyer with experience and expertise in the relevant field. The lawyer should specialize in family law, I mean choosing a spousal support lawyer will significantly benefit you. It’s better to hire someone with similar experience and achievements in the relevant field.
For lawyers, reputation matters! A lawyer might not be excellent but get everything done smoothly because of their positive impression and reputation in their community. Alternatively, they might be an amazing lawyer but struggle to succeed due to their reputation.
It’s also a good idea to check with your family, friends, and peers regarding the lawyer before hiring them.
4. Cost and Charges
Just as you would discuss finance with your partner before getting married or drafting a prenuptial agreement, you should discuss the expenses and fees of the lawyer before you hire them.
Some lawyers sometimes charge or ask for absurdly high consultation fees from their clients with and without good reason. You should be aware of that. Consider what your lawyer would have to do to mediate your situation and compare what it’s worth.
You may need to compromise slightly. That doesn’t mean you are the only one who’s supposed to compromise. What good is a prenup lawyer who imposes financial stress?
Make Smarter Decisions!
When you successfully consider everything discussed above and feel ready to discuss, draft, and sign a prenuptial agreement with your partner, it might still be a scary thought. Just remember, it’s for the greater good of you and your partner.
It’s a legally sound and smart decision to avoid conflict and/or financial stress if an unpleasant situation presents itself in the future. Everyone has the right to be financially independent. When there are legal bindings involved, it’s better to seek help and find a prenuptial agreement lawyer and let professional prenuptial lawyers get the most out of it for you.