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Importance of a Marriage Contract

Importance of a Marriage Contract

Marriages are made in heaven, they say. But nobody warns you about the reality of the failing of the heavenly bond. Sad, but true! Divorce, or separation is the last thing on mind when two people start a family together.

Why enter into a marriage contract when everything is beautiful and rosy in your relationship? Here are five important reasons to sign a marriage contract with your spouse.

What is a Marriage Contract Canada: Types of Marriage Contracts?

The marriage agreement, prenup agreement, or contract is made at the notary. It allows future spouses to choose their matrimonial regime. That means the rules of management and sharing of the inheritance will apply during their union and when it ends. (Whether it is by a death or a divorce).

Several marriage contracts exist in Canada’s marriage laws, for example:

  • Community of Property
  • Separation of Property
  • Participation in Acquests

In the absence of specific procedures, the spouses are subject to the legal regime of the community reduced to acquit. Furthermore, it implies that the goods and income received and the debts contracted during the marriage are common to both spouses.

What are the Benefits of a Marriage Contract: Five Most Important Reasons?

Have the Choice

To enter into a marriage contract is, first of all, to have the choice. Contrary to popular belief, it is impossible to get married without benefiting from a matrimonial regime created by a contract. But, of course, you’ve never signed a marriage contract, so how is that possible? You benefit from the legal regime provided by default when you do not go before a notary.

However, under the terms of the Civil Code, you have three other options: universal community, separation of property, and participation in acquests. All relevant depending on the situation of each spouse in the couple!

Protect Your Spouse

Establishing a marriage contract is mainly to protect your spouse. Protection may come, depending on your professional situation, from a community or separatist regime. The separatist regime is particularly suitable when you or your spouse exercise an independent commercial profession. Why?

Creditors cannot repay the spouse’s money if the entrepreneur goes bankrupt. But conversely, you can also protect your other half through the universal community contract by sharing all your property.

Anticipate Difficulties

This is one of the main reasons for entering into such a contract. Anticipating is not a bad thing, whether at the ceremony stage or when a professional or family situation invites you to change your contract. Establishing a marriage contract allows you to plan how your couple will handle difficulties according to your personal choices.

Divorces and deaths, and their legal consequences, can be mastered in advance. For example, suppose one of the spouses remarries. He can only be required to pay alimony when he has signed a separation of property contract!

Define the Distribution of Assets

Whatever your pre-marriage agreement is, several categories of property exist. There are goods common to the spouses and the personal property of both spouses. By choosing your marriage contract, you avoid distributing your assets according to the legal regime, that is to say, 50–50%.

Protect Your Children at Your Estate

The choice of matrimonial contract also has an impact on the children during the succession. Indeed, the universal community contract is of little benefit to the children since all the property goes to the other spouse. The children will not inherit until their deaths.

The separation of property regime, on the other hand, allows children to inherit their parent’s property. In particular, in the presence of uncommon children, this regime allows your children not to be harmed during the succession.

When and Where to Sign a Marriage Contract?

If the couple is not yet married, the contract must be drawn up before the marriage ceremony. The marriage contract requires the use of a notary or a marriage lawyer. The latter advices, drafts, and registers the contract. Entering into a marriage contract entails costs, the amount of which varies depending on your situation.

Is the Marriage Contract Binding?

No, it is not mandatory. The choice to establish one or not is up to the future spouses. However, when there is no marriage contract, the spouses are automatically subject to the legal regime of the community, which is reduced to acquests. Thus, it is a system whereby the spouses equally share their common property in the event of separation.

Can We Change an Already Existing Marriage Contract?

Yes. It is possible to change or modify an already existing marriage contract. In general, couples do it as soon as their situation changes or because they lack anticipation for the issue before marriage.

To Be Specific

The modification of the marriage contract must take place at least two years after the marriage. In addition, the procedure must be carried out by mutual agreement between the two spouses before the notary.

Practical Information: How Do I Conclude My Marriage Contract?

To conclude a marriage contract, you must necessarily go before a notary; it is indeed a solemn act. If this specificity comes at a cost, this will allow you to benefit from the advice of a specialist in family law. In addition, it will ensure that the contract best meets your needs.

If you wish to conclude this contract from the start of your union, you must complete the contract before the wedding. A mention of this marriage contract will indeed have to be entered in the civil status on the marriage certificate.

In addition, what to do if you are already married without a marriage contract or under a matrimonial regime? We already answered that: you have the possibility of concluding a marriage contract during the marriage. However, this change is only possible after 2 years of marriage. It is, therefore, better to make sure to choose an appropriate matrimonial regime from the start of the marriage.

Final Verdict

Although the marriage contract is not mandatory, its benefits are undeniable. First, a marriage contract is useful because it helps clarify your marital status. After all, saying “Yes, I want it” is one thing; understanding the legal and financial issues of your engagement is another!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are marriage contracts important?

Marriage contracts clarify financial expectations, safeguard individual assets, and provide a roadmap for potential future scenarios, like divorce or death, ensuring transparency and security for both partners.

Is it good to have a marriage contract?

Having a marriage contract can offer peace of mind by openly discussing financial matters, protecting premarital assets, and setting clear guidelines, but its necessity depends on each couple's unique circumstances and preferences.

What should go in a marriage contract?

A marriage contract typically includes specifics about asset division, debt responsibilities, spousal support terms, and sometimes even details about how joint finances will be managed during the marriage.

Does a marriage contract override a will?

While a marriage contract can impact the distribution of assets in divorce, it might not fully override a will; it's crucial to ensure both documents align legally to avoid conflicts.

Difference between marriage and a marriage contract?

Marriage is the emotional and legal union between partners, while a marriage contract focuses on outlining financial and legal terms agreed upon by the couple before marriage, ensuring clarity on various aspects.

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