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Cohabitation agreements and marriage contracts.


Cohabitation Agreements and Marriage Contracts

       

I provide assistance to parties wishing to enter into a cohabitation agreement or a marriage contract. These may be commonly known as a "pre-nuptial agreement".

A cohabitation agreement is entered into by parties who are cohabiting or are about to cohabit with each other. A marriage contract is entered into by parties who are about to get married to each other or are already married to each other.

In these types of domestic contracts, parties can deal with any issues that may arise during their cohabitation or upon the breakdown of their marriage, with certain exceptions. Issues of custody and access of children can not be dealt with in such agreements. As well, certain rights of married spouses relating particularly to the exclusive possession of the matrimonial home and the right to veto its sale or mortgaging, are not allowed according to the Family Law Act of Ontario (R.S.O. 1990 c F.3).

There are, however, many compelling reasons why parties may wish to enter into a cohabitation agreement or a marriage contract. The following are but a few examples:

  • To reduce the possibility of proceeding to court in the event of a separation
  • To allow, in the event of a marriage breakdown, the deduction of the value of the matrimonial home which one is bringing into the marriage
  • To address competing claims, which may arise at the time of one's death, between the new spouse and children from a previous relationship
  • To protect certain family companies or assets from falling into one's net family property
  • To allow a person who expects or has received a significant inheritance, to apply such funds to the matrimonial home without losing the exclusion for such funds under the equalization of net family properties

Whatever the reason may be, if you think that a cohabitation agreement or a marriage contract may be useful to you, or if you are being asked by your existing spouse or spouse to be, to enter into such type of agreement, it is wise that you speak to a lawyer to get proper advice.

The legal fees for the drafting or the review of such domestic contract will vary depending on the extent of my involvement and the complexity of the issues. I will advise you of my hourly rate and to the extent possible, I will provide an estimate of the expected number of hours involved.




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