A marriage contract is an agreement that two people enter to modify their rights to property and/or spousal support upon the breakdown of their relationship. Here are 3 reasons why you should consider getting a marriage contract:
1. A marriage contract gives you control over how property will be divided upon separation. Without a marriage contract, your property will be divided based on the laws of your province. Depending on your individual circumstance, this could result in you having to make significant payments to your former spouse.
2. Drafting a marriage contract requires you and your partner to have a deep and meaningful conversation about your respective views for the future. It’s a great opportunity to discuss finances, inheritance, employment aspirations, and many of the other economic issues that couples fight about… before they become issues!
3. If the marriage comes to an end, a marriage contract can expedite the divorce process saving time and money. A streamlined divorce process is not only cost-effective, it can reduce the conflict between parties and minimize the emotional fallout, allowing you to move on to the next chapter in your life.
Keep in mind, there are some things that a marriage contract cannot do. A marriage contract is designed to predict how things will be handled in the future. However, it is not possible to predict how parenting decisions (ex. where the children will live) will be made in advance. Parenting decisions must be made in the “best interests” of the child(ren). The “best interests” test looks at the child’s age, personality, routine, etc., at the time of divorce, to determine what is best for them. Since you cannot predict when a divorce will occur or what the family circumstances will be when it happens, you also cannot predict what will be in the best interests of the children at that time.
However, a marriage contract can set out how parties hope to parent their children in if they separate so it is still a helpful opportunity to discuss your parenting philosophy with your partner.