How Marriage Contracts Can Change The Law That Applies To A Couple

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Marriage Contracts: Preventing Fights Before, During & (If Necessary) After Relationships

Marriage contracts include agreements with several different names, and purposes, in Alberta, but many people do not understand them. In Alberta, there is both case law and family law legislation that sets out what happens when a relationship falls apart. These laws deal with finances, debts, property, and even support. These laws will apply to legal marriages and common law marriages. However, in Alberta, people are also allowed to enter a domestic contract. This contract will sets out what happens with the assets and debts of the people in the contract if their relationship ends. The marriage contract lawyers at Kahane Law Office in Calgary, Alberta are able to help.

Types of Marriage Contracts In Alberta

Cohabitation Agreements

Cohabitation agreements are marriage contracts that apply prior to a marriage. They work for couples living together but not married and when the couple plan to never legally marry. If couples who have a cohabitation agreement do get married, then that marriage contract can to continue to be valid. If there are changes that the couple wishes to address once, married, they can enter into a pre-nuptial agreement.

Pre-nuptial, nuptial and post nuptial contacts

These agreements deal with situations where people decide to marry. These marriage contracts either contemplate marriage (for example, before your wedding) or you enter into after the wedding occurs. It is always best to enter into this type of binding agreement prior to the actual marriage. This is the prenuptial agreement. If you are already married, and want to enter into a marriage contract, you still can. This is referred to as a post nuptial agreement.

Separation Agreements

The only marriage contract that can contract for what happens with children after the end of a relationship is a separation agreement. A separation agreement can deal with all the financial matters between couples when their relationship is over. They also can deal with custody and access issues as they relate to children of the marriage.

A important word of caution. Unless a separation agreement marriage contract specifically contracts out of it, reconciliation between the parties may void the separation agreement. As with all agreements, full understand what the agreement is before you sign it.

Can You Get Out Of A Marriage Contract?

Generally, entering into these agreements secures an individual’s rights and obligations. However, there specific instances come up that allow for the voiding or invalidating of a marriage contract. These situations include a common theme. For example, all three involve one party agreeing to enter the agreement but not having a true understanding of what they were agreeing too.

Failure to Disclose

The first way a party can get out of a marriage contract is if the other party failed to properly disclose their assets. It is important for the parties to make an informed choice. If you do not know the financial situation of the other party in terms of assets and debts, then you cannot make an informed choice as your rights under domestic relations law will change.

No Understanding the Marriage contract

If one party does not understand the agreement they are signing, then there may not be an agreement at all. This can be true of any contract if there is not a “meeting of the minds”. In order to have a marriage contract be valid, it is essential to have both parties attend for independent legal advice. Since you can be giving up significant rights with these legally binding agreements, this is a very important step to follow.

Forced or Mistake Entry into a Marriage contract

If one party forces the other into any contact then that person often retains the right to get out of that contract. “Force” can include physical intimidation but may also include financial pleasure or intimidation. Mistakes refer to situations where a person made a genuine mistake in entering into a contract, such as a wrong version of a marriage contract being signed instead of the most recent copy.

Finding A Marriage Contract Lawyer in Calgary, Alberta

When you enter into these agreements, you give up and receive significant rights. Anyone entering into one, needs to fully understand what they are signing before they sign it. Learn how to protect yourself and your partner. You may also wish schedule a consultation with a member of our family law team to discuss your family law entitlements and obligations, please contact our experienced team at Kahane Law Office. You can reach us toll-free at 1-877-225-8817, or 403-225-8810 locally or email us directly here.