Cohabitation & Marriage Contracts

Cohabitation & Marriage Contracts from David M. Morneau Jr.

Creating a cohabitation agreement or a marriage contract (sometimes referred to as prenuptial or postnuptial agreements) involves being transparent and honest with your partner. You or your partner may find the level of communication and cooperation required difficult to manage between them.

Morneau Family Law & Legal Innovation

aspects of cohabitation agreements and marriage contracts

The most beneficial aspects of cohabitation agreements and marriage contracts include:

  • Protecting your assets: These agreements can protect individual assets brought into the relationship, ensuring that each of you retains ownership of their personal property and financial assets in the event of a separation.
  • Providing clarity and certainty: They provide clear guidelines on how property, debts, and financial matters will be handled, reducing uncertainty and potential disputes. This could include identifying the value of assets and debt to be excluded if you separate, which could be important if you own a home prior to cohabitation or marriage.
  • Customizing arrangements: You can tailor the agreements to fit your specific needs and preferences, rather than relying on the default legal provisions which might not suit your situation and wishes.
  • Setting out spousal support: You can outline terms for spousal support, specifying the amount and duration of support. This can prevent lengthy and costly trips to court in the future.
  • Outlining your debts and who is responsible: You can clarify your respective responsibility for debts incurred before and during the relationship, helping to protect one party from the other’s financial liabilities.
  • Creating peace of mind: By addressing financial and property issues up front, you can have peace of mind, allowing both of you to focus on your relationship without the stress of potential future disputes.
  • Allowing for efficient resolution: In the event of a separation, having a cohabitation agreement or marriage contract in place can expedite the resolution process, saving time, money, and emotional stress.
  • Offering flexibility: These agreements offer flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances. Couples can include provisions for future changes, such as the birth of children or significant financial changes.
  • Preserving your relationship: By reducing the potential for conflict over financial matters, these agreements can help preserve amicable relationships between you. This is especially important if there are children.

Overall, cohabitation agreements and marriage contracts offer significant benefits by providing financial security, clarity, and customized solutions that cater to your unique needs. Properly drafted agreements that meet legal requirements are enforceable in court and provide a reliable framework for the division of assets, debts and support arrangements.

Much like separation, creating a process unique to your family’s needs can assist in streamlining your lives. It can ensure that everything that is important to both of you is identified, discussed, and decisions made are consistent with your wishes and objectives. The skills that I have acquired and honed can be beneficial as you make these important decisions.

Please reach out individually or together and I can talk to you to determine a process that will best meet your needs. I can help you to identify your priorities and goals, and help you shape them in a comprehensive legal agreement.

Contact me to discuss your cohabitation agreement or your marriage contract requirements.

Call me

Email me

Send me a message

Morneau Family Law & Legal Innovation

Cohabitation Agreements

Morneau Family Law & Legal Innovation

Marriage Contracts

 

Read more

Cohabitation Agreements

A cohabitation agreement is a legal contract between two people who live together or plan to live together in a common-law relationship. It is governed by section 53 of the Family Law Act in Ontario.

This agreement can outline your rights and obligations during the relationship and in the event of a breakup. It can cover a wide range of issues, such as:

  • Ownership and division of property and assets and debts
  • Financial support and debt responsibilities
  • Living expenses and household bills
  • Spousal support
  • The right to direct the education and moral training of their children, but not regarding parenting time or the right to decision-making responsibility
  • Any other matters the couple wishes to include, as long as those decisions do not fall outside the boundaries of the law

Cohabitation agreements are particularly useful for protecting individual assets and clarifying expectations. To be legally binding, the agreement must be in writing, signed by both parties, and witnessed. Usually, each person will have an independent lawyer advising them to ensure fairness and understanding of the terms.

In the event that you get married, a cohabitation agreement automatically converts into a marriage contract. If you separate, a cohabitation agreement converts into a separation agreement.

Marriage Contracts 

(sometimes called Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements)

A marriage contract, sometimes known as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, is a legal contract between two people who are either married or intend to marry each other. Prenuptial is a common term used if the agreement is created before marriage and postnuptial is used when it is created after marriage. Either way, it is governed by section 52 of the Family Law Act in Ontario.

This agreement can outline your rights and obligations during the relationship and in the event of a breakup. It can cover a wide range of issues, such as:

  • Ownership and division of property and assets
  • Financial support and debt responsibilities
  • Living expenses and household bills
  • Spousal support
  • The right to direct the education and moral training of their children, but not regarding parenting time or the right to decision-making responsibility
  • Any other matters the couple wishes to include, as long as those decisions do not fall outside the boundaries of the law

A marriage contract allows couples to make their own arrangements rather than relying on the default provisions of the Family Law Act. The one exception is that a marriage contract cannot limit certain rights that either you may have under Part II of the Family Law Act regarding possession, designation and other rights under the law.

Marriage contracts are particularly useful for protecting individual assets and clarifying expectations. To be legally binding, the agreement must be in writing, signed by both parties, and witnessed. Usually, each person will have an independent lawyer advising them to ensure fairness and understanding of the terms.

If you separate, a marriage contract can convert and form part or all of a separation agreement.

My approach to forming agreements

My process focusses on you and your partner both working together towards a holistic agreement that is achieved through transparency, communication and empathy.

I help couples form agreements with dignity, honour and a focus on the future by making sure that they have and can discuss all information and advice to make informed decisions.

This process begins with your initial flat fee consultation to discover your values, objectives, hopes and worries about entering into a marriage or cohabitation agreement. To arrange your initial consultation: