In BC, prenuptial agreements – which are also known as marriage agreements and cohabitation agreements – are contracts entered into by couples to ensure there are clear guidelines on how property, debt, and support (among other things) will be dealt with if separation or divorce occurs. What You Should Know About BC Prenuptial Agreements In BC, prenuptial agreements – which are also known as marriage agreements and cohabitation agreements – are contracts entered into by couples to ensure there are clear guidelines on how property, debt, and support (among other things) will be dealt with if separation or divorce occurs. The couple can enter into a BC prenuptial agreement at any point in their relationship – such contracts are not just for new couples. A cohabitation agreement can be between a couple who is planning to live together or who already living together. Similarly, a marriage agreement can be between a couple who are planning to marry or spouses who are already married. Raising the issue of prenuptial agreements BC Some people think that raising the issue of a prenuptial agreement, marriage agreement, or cohabitation agreement will create conflict in their relationship. The topic of relationship breakdown is not a favourite, especially at the outset of their relationship when everything is rosy. But raising the issue of a prenuptial agreement is infinitely easier if it is framed in light of the main goal of a BC prenuptial agreement: reducing future conflict. A prenuptial agreement should not be viewed as a scheme for one partner to keep everything while the other is left out (and in fact, if a BC prenuptial agreement is too one-sided it may not be enforceable due to its significant unfairness). Advantages of having a BC prenuptial agreement An effective prenuptial agreement, based on an open discussion, will be a win-win for both parties. It will give the couple peace of mind that they are protected if the worst does happen and ensure that the partners are on the same page with respect to relationship and financial plans. Openly and proactively discussing mutual goals and expectations, and what happens if those are not met, can be a relationship strengthener. Another significant advantage is that such agreements are customizable to the needs and circumstances of the couple. They get to decide how the most important aspects of their life – children, home, cars, money – will be dealt with if their relationship breaks down. And of course, another advantage of having a BC prenuptial agreement is that it will save the couple time and money in the long run if the relationship breaks down. Your future self will thank you. Negotiating at the end of the relationship can be very challenging If a relationship breaks down and the couple do not have a BC prenuptial agreement in place, they can try to negotiate a separation agreement, which may be exponentially more difficult. Tensions will be high and communication between exes is often extremely strained. At that point, it can be challenging for exes to see eye-to-eye on anything. If the exes can’t come to an agreement, they will be forced to resort to the courts to resolve their family law dispute. The family law court process is expensive, time-consuming, and emotionally draining. It also takes the power out of the hands of the parties who will be affected by what the court ultimately orders. Topics that can be dealt with in a BC prenuptial agreement A prenuptial agreement can deal with topics including: • The treatment of property or debt brought into the relationship; • The division of property and debt accumulated during the relationship; • Responsibilities with respect to children brought into the relationship; • The amount and duration of spousal support that will be payable; and • Whether any inheritances will be shared or excluded from family property. As discussed above, prenuptial agreements in BC can be tailored to the needs and circumstances of the couple, provided you know the law and the requirements for a valid, enforceable BC prenuptial agreement. Get clear legal advice when preparing a BC prenuptial agreement BC family lawyers at Bronson Jones & Company LLP will give you clear advice and protect your legal rights during the negotiation of your BC prenuptial agreement. Our family lawyers have the experience necessary to uncover potential issues and the foresight to help our clients prepare comprehensive agreements that are customized to their needs and circumstances. Contact one of our team of BC prenuptial agreement lawyers today at 1-855-852-5100. We have 13 locations to serve you.
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