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Domestic Contracts

Domestic Contracts

When you and your spouse reach an agreement, you will need to convert your arrangement into a document that is legally binding in Ontario and enforceable in order for both of you to be protected.

 It is of paramount importance for your domestic contract to be properly drafted by a competent family lawyer in Ontario who ensures that all the legal requirements are met so that your agreement is enforceable. Domestic contracts is a term used to refer to the different types of agreements couples enter into depending on where their relationship is at the time of the negotiation/execution of the agreement. 

Prenuptial (“Prenup”) Agreements, explained, 

A Prenuptial Agreement (“prenup”), or Marriage Contract, is a contract between a couple in contemplation of their marriage which outlines their rights and obligations arising out of their relationship. For instance, it sets out how property is to be owned during a marriage, how it is to be divided in the event of a separation and how it is to be distributed upon death (the latter to be used in conjunction with a Will). This document is indispensable upon a separation as it can save the parties to the agreement a legal dispute in Canada.

Here are some things dealt with by a good prenup:

  1. Assets held in joint and separate names;
  2. Sets out what types of assets are to be kept separate; 
  3. Sets out what types of assets to be divided and how they are to be divided; 
  4. Deals with the increases in value of separate assets; 
  5. How liabilities will be divided; and 
  6. Spousal support. 

In the event of a separation, prenups are notoriously known to be challenged and having a detailed and well-drafted prenup is priceless. 

Cohabitation Agreements, explained,

A Cohabitation Agreement, or Cohab Agreement, is an agreement between a couple that is living together but not getting married. It is the prenup of unmarried couples. 

A Cohabitation Agreement can address the same issues as a prenup; however, it is even more important than a prenup because the division of property for unmarried couples is one of the gray areas of family law since unmarried couples do not receive the protections afforded to married couples under the Family Law Act. The uncertainty of this area of law hikes up the costs associated with legal disputes as the Court has a great deal of discretion in dealing with property division for unmarried couples. 

If you are in a relationship where the other party is making contributions (monetary or other) or you are the one providing financial assistance in the relationship, you could be in a relationship with a legal obligation to provide a portion of your property or your income to the other party. A Cohabitation Agreement in Etobicoke can protect you!

Postnuptial Agreements, explained,

A Postnuptial Agreement, or a postnup, is a contract between couples executed after they are married. It functions exactly like a Prenuptial Agreement, or prenup, except it is executed after marriage. They are usually done where there is a family trust created after marriage when one spouse is set to receive an inheritance. 

As is the case with all domestic contracts, an iron-clad postnup is invaluable to avoid the hassle, and cost, of legal battles. 

Separation Agreements, explained,

A separation agreement is a binding contract that sets out the terms agreed upon between the parties arising out of the breakdown of their relationship/marriage. 

Separation agreements in Ontario typically cover details of how the parties intend on resolving issues such as division of property, parenting, child support and spousal support. In the case of a married couple, although a separation agreement resolves most, if not all, the parties’ legal issues, they are not divorced until a Divorce Judgment is granted by a Court of competent jurisdiction. 

Two lawyers are usually required to handle the process of the negotiation, drafting and execution of a Separation Agreement; one lawyer for each party to the agreement. If the parties do not require assistance in negotiating a resolution, the Separation Agreement is typically drafted by one family lawyer while the other party obtains independent legal advice from another family lawyer. 

Although some Separation Agreements may be arrived at amicably, more often than not there are legal issues in dispute that need to be resolved. 

Like all domestic contracts discussed, there are specific requirements that must be met in order for a Separation Agreement to be legally binding and enforceable. 

Rest assured that our family lawyers at Noori Law in Etobicoke, know how to ensure that your domestic contracts are binding and enforceable while ensuring that it accurately reflects your intentions/desires. Contact us to book a consultation today!

a detailed explanation of prenuptial agreements, cohabitation agreements, separation agreements, and post-nuptial agreements by the best-rated family law firm located in Etobicoke, Toronto.