Westcoast Wills and Probate LawyerVancouver | North Vancouver | Burnaby | Squamish
Westcoast WillsVancouver | North Vancouver | Burnaby | Squamish
A family lawyer in Vancouver at Westcoast Wills can help you and your partner with what is commonly called a prenup or prenuptial agreement. These are often the foundation of a solid estate plan. These agreements protect you and your partner in the case of a marital breakdown in the future. While prenups were once considered only for the wealthy, they have become increasingly popular among all couples who want to protect their assets and financial interests.
In BC, we don’t generally call these agreements “prenups”. In the case of a legal marriage, the agreement is called a “Marriage Agreement”; in the case of a common-law relationship, the agreement is called “Cohabitation Agreement“. Both are essentially the same.
What is a “Spouse”?
A legally married couple are spouses to one another. Also in BC, the Family Law Act describes what is frequently referred to as a common-law spouse. If you live with a person in a marriage-like relationship for two years, you are considered a “spouse” in the context of family laws in BC. This means you are subject to the same family laws, rights, and obligations as a legally married person.
Why get a prenup?
If spouses do not discuss their expectations ahead of time, the many emotions that inevitably come with relationship breakdowns often get in the way of rational and level-headed negotiations. Disputes arise as to what each former spouse considers to be fair, and if they are not able to come to a consensus, litigation will ensue. Family litigation is an expensive and lengthy process that may take years before a final determination is made.
When should I get a prenup?
Although you and your spouse may enter into an agreement at any time before or during your cohabitation and/or marriage, it would be ideal to do so prior to moving in together, or at least before the 2nd anniversary of living together. This is because in the event you and your spouse separate without having entered into an agreement, the default family laws in BC will apply to you. For example, the BC Family Law Act states that upon separation, each spouse is entitled to 50% of all family property and is equally responsible for all family debts. In many instances, the default law may not lead to a desirable outcome for either of the former spouses.
Our prenup lawyer in Vancouver can help
To avoid a complicated separation, it is always a good idea to have an honest and frank discussion with your spouse while you are in a respectful relationship. A prenup lawyer in Vancouver at Westcoast Wills & Estates will be able to give you the legal advice necessary in managing expectations, and subsequently to assist you with preparing a marriage agreement or cohabitation agreement that reflects you and your spouse’s mutual expectations. A cohabitation agreement or marriage agreement will minimize any uncertainties in the future.