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Is a marriage contract a good idea?

If you have assets you want to protect, then yes, a marriage contract is something you should consider.Today, many people get married much later in life, or marry a second or third time, which means they often bring more assets with them into the marriage: homes, retirement savings, investments and more.

In Ontario, the issue of property division is governed by the Family Law Act. In the event there is a breakdown in the marriage and there is no marriage contract, the Act specifies that all of the property the couple owns, either jointly or individually, is valued as of the date of separation and divided more or less equally. Any property brought into the marriage, other than a matrimonial home or cottage, is also valued and excluded as of the date of marriage.

A marriage contract, also known as a pre-marital or prenuptial agreement, can specify that certain assets, such as a house or cottage that one spouse owned prior to the marriage or acquired during the marriage, are to be excluded from the property to be divided. A contract can also determine in advance if a spouse will pay spousal support upon separation.

If there is no marriage contract or prenuptial agreement, the Family Law Act will not allow a spouse to exclude the value of the house or cottage from division of property.

Marriage contracts can be simple or complex, depending on your personal situation.

If you are looking to protect your assets, both for yourself and your loved ones, contact AGB Lawyers at 613-226-8817 for the confidential, objective legal advice you need.