A marriage contract is a document that both parties sign before getting married, and it can address many topics, such as conduct within the marriage, what is to be done with assets already owned, and what happens with assets gained during the marriage. In most cases, the focus of the contract is on the financial side of things, as people want to protect their own interests so that a court ruling doesn’t force them to turn over assets in the event of a divorce.
One of the biggest financial impacts of a divorce, though, is child support. It is typically not legal to put any provisions for this in a marriage contract. The spouse expecting to get custody and payments cannot stipulate how much will be paid, and the other spouse cannot say that he or she will pay nothing.
Instead, this still has to be decided by the court. Other assets can be divided according to the contract.
The reasoning here is that the child is not actually participating in the signing of this contract at the time of marriage, and the child is the one mainly impacted by these payments. The parent does not have the right to sign away money that was intended for that child, as it would not be fair and could be detrimental to the child’s health and well-being. Any contracts containing such language may be thrown out, or that portion at least may not be used.
When setting up a marriage contract to protect assets, always make sure you know what it can legally cover and what has to be left up to the court in British Columbia.
Source: Advisor.ca, “Marriage Contracts Protect Assets,” Margaret O’Sullivan, accessed July 08, 2016
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