In the Province of British Columbia married couples share property and debts unless they agree to do it otherwise.
Since couples have the option to change the regime to a certain degree, marriage agreements are more and more common these days. Marriage agreements can be signed before or after getting married with different implications. Marriage agreements, include but are not limited to the following:
- Dividing property, specifically when the parties wish to secure the assets obtained before the marriage takes place and/or to protect certain assets acquired during the marriage.
- Provisions related to spousal support in the event of a breakdown
- Dividing debts
- Some couples even include some provisions related to what will happen in the event of death of one of them or both
- Personal decisions about the rules of the relationship such as insurance policies, bank accounts, etc.
It is a myth that couples should only have a marriage agreement if they have assets. Having a marriage agreement is a personal decision made jointly with your partner where several present and future factors are covered under the agreement. If couples decide to have a marriage agreement but still donate or gift some property, money, etc. to their spouses, there is always an opportunity to add a clause where it is said that one party can give presents of that kind to the other without affecting the nature of the agreement.
Each step and provision of the marriage agreement should be prepared carefully. It is important to know that parties must have independent legal advice and there should not be any kind of coercion or pressure into the agreement.
Each couple is unique and what they wish to have in the agreement could be unique as well. If you are planning to have a marriage agreement drafted, we can assist.
By: Maria Campos LL.M.
Lawyer and Notary Public
Invicta Law Corporation