While conversations about prenuptial agreements used to be uncomfortable, more and more British Columbia couples find it the best way to protect their individual assets — not only in the event of a divorce but also if one spouse should die. Many couples marry a bit later in life, and others marry for a second or subsequent time, and they enter marriages with already acquired assets that need protection in the division of property. Furthermore, prenups are not limited to asset allocation but can include directives on how the couple will handle finances and more during the marriage.
The first requirement of a prenuptial agreement is a comprehensive list of each spouse’s assets that they will bring into the marriage — along with their existing debts. Any assets acquired after the wedding date will be a marital property that will belong to both. Spouses usually have different spending and saving habits, and they can use the prenup to set ground rules related to how they will administrate their incomes and assets. They can also stipulate how they will handle the payment of existing debt.
Matters other than financial, such as commitments and responsibilities with raising children and household tasks, can be addressed in the marital agreement. If one spouse advances his or her education while the other spouse works, they may want to consider the position of the person who put in hours at work in the event of a divorce. Similarly, potential spousal support may be included for one spouse who may become a stay-at-home parent and will be at a financial disadvantage if the marriage ends.
These are just some of the matters to consider when drafting a prenuptial agreement. Each spouse’s legal representative must be present to ensure both spouses sign the document out of free will and that no intimidation or coercion takes place. Experienced British Columbia family law attorneys can provide valuable advice and input during the drafting of the agreement to ensure the fair division of property should one spouse die or in the event of a divorce.
Source: Marriage.com, “Prenuptial Agreement Checklist“, Accessed on Jan. 7, 2017
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