Newly engaged? About to tie the knot? Or maybe you are still coming down off a post-wedding high? Amid the flower arrangements and caterers, the honeymoon and thank you cards, you will want to make sure this crucial item is checked off your list. It’s time to talk about your marriage contract, more commonly known as a pre-nuptial agreement.
While planning a wedding, the last thing you want to think about is the possibility of your marriage not lasting forever. Many feel pre-nuptial agreements are unromantic, cynical, and most importantly, not for them. Some believe only celebrities or the wealthy require a marriage contract. These are common misconceptions.
Here are a few reasons why getting a marriage contract is the smart thing to do:
- Timing – Separation and divorce are emotional. The stress of these events often bring out the worst in people. There is no better time than when your hearts are full of love and you have common goals, to discuss how you and your partner might address topics of co-parenting, dividing assets and other tricky issues. Take the time now to decide how you will treat each other, and your assets, should you ever go your separate ways.
- Control – Rather than negotiating important issues when emotions will be running high, a marriage contract gives you control over the outcome of separation or divorce. If negotiation fails, the default and often imperfect legal rules will govern the outcome. These legal rules may not produce a mutually agreed upon outcome. Don’t risk letting a judge decide important issues; take control and get a marriage contract.
- Peace of Mind – You and your partner will not always have the same level of income, assets and debts that you have now. Separation or divorce can have an unintended and devastating financial consequence for you.
If children are involved, the risks become higher and more emotional. A marriage contract provides you with protection against unexpected and unwanted outcomes and liabilities.
While it might be an awkward topic, you may find that your significant other is relieved to hear you want to put a practical contingency plan in place. Having a marriage contract does not mean you are selfish, pessimistic or uncommitted. It simply means you want to protect yourselves from uncertainty, turmoil and potential expensive legal proceedings should you separate or divorce.
A marriage contract can be as simple or as detailed as you wish. They are completely customizable to your personal and financial circumstances and plans for the future. A contract can even be created after you are married. But the easiest time to do it, is now.
Our family lawyers will be pleased to provide you with the assistance you need to cross this item off your to-do list.
Cox & Palmer
Purdy’s Wharf, Tower 1
1100-1959 Upper Water St., Halifax