Many people get confused about the marriage contract and the prenup meaning. Both are similar things, except that prenup needs to be signed before marriage. In contrast, couples can make a marriage agreement before or after getting married.
These contracts mainly contain the distribution of the properties, debts, estate plans, spousal maintenance, etc., if the couples get divorced in the future. The main aim of these agreements is to avoid upcoming hassles and complications that arise while getting separated.
These pieces of paperwork can work as a clarification in solving all these vital problems. As a result, the couple can get divorced without facing many troubles compared to others who didn’t sign a contract.
Any marriage agreement will only be valid and accepted if both couples mutually consent to all the terms and conditions. Objection to even a single clause by any of the spouses is enough to make the contract null.
The same goes for making any changes or variations in the contract. If any one of you wants to make changes, both need to agree on changing that. Otherwise, no changes will be applicable.
However, one important thing to note is you cannot handle and include any issues regarding your child. All the child decisions are extremely sensitive and need much consideration.
Hence, these can be taken by parents only while separating or getting divorced, not before that. So both the parents and courts can finally understand the situation to arrive at a fair call.
After all, that child’s entire life depends on these vital decisions, such as which parent gets to have the full parenting responsibility for the child, etc.
What is a Marriage Contract?
A marriage agreement is a kind of domestic agreement that contains how you and your partner will handle various problems while staying together or if the marriage breaks. To simply put, it is basically a written contract between you and your spouse that you can make before marriage or after marriage.
This marriage agreement is sometimes known as a prenup or prenuptial agreement Canada or pre-marriage agreement. Both of you must have full consent to signing these agreements. And all the decisions must be mutually made.
Otherwise, the contract will not be legal. The most common things that couples include in their contract are assets distributions and spousal maintenance. For instance, both of you can agree on handling and dividing the debts if you are separated.
For example, you can agree on things like how you and your partner will divide your property and debts if you separate. The most common issues that people deal with in a prenup are property issues and spousal support.
The prenup for common law is a bit different than the married couples. Such as, for common-law couples, if they have a cohabitation contract, then based on the law, these contracts will automatically turn into a marriage agreement if both of you get married.
Why is Marriage a Legal Contract?
Getting married is a big thing, as along with getting the love of your life, it comes with numerous legal bindings and responsibilities. That’s why it is a term as a legal contract as one is obliged to tons of duties and liabilities with several marriage rights and benefits.
In fact, the marriage terms start right from the moment you get married and enter your married life. Why? Well, it is because you will be entitled to various duties and responsibilities that you must meet.
Moreover, you will also be eligible to receive several marriage rights and benefits. Such as tax benefits, estate planning, medical, employment, consumer benefits, and many more
On the contrary, you have to take care of all the family expenses, support your child financially, share all incomes and assets gained while staying in the marriage, spousal maintenance, child support, etc.
All these rights, liabilities, and benefits fall under the law. Failure to meet this thing without any valid reasons gives the authority to take action against them.
Hence, all these legal things, by getting add up, ultimately make the marriage a legal contract. So no one can fool their obligations and act accordingly.
What are the Things to Include in a Marriage Contract?
Every couple is different and unique in their own way. Similarly, their contract also varies from another couple, though the goal is somewhat the same.
However, there are some common must-to include things that make a marriage contact a fruitful and correct one. have a look at the listings to avoid making an error in your one:
You must never lie in this field as your other half reserves all the right to know what about all your assets and belongings. As a result, through all allocation, both you and your partner will know which one they will get and which not if the marriage breaks.
They will not have a say in these things later, as they have signed only after knowing everything. So, all the properties’ management and divisions must have a separate citation and description (during and after marriage).
For example, you can make 2 lists of the properties as a separate property column where you want to keep them. And another part for the shared property, which you will share. It will make things more precise and easier to understand for everyone.
Earnings and Debts
Here, you can disclose your income details and how these things will be deal with based on the shared/separate accounts. If there are any insurance settlements or legacy, you must include them in the contract.
Debts sharing is an essential part of a marriage. Therefore, this part must be in detailed form in the marriage agreement to avoid any future confusion.
This business part is for those who have a business relationship with their spouse. A marriage agreement gives you all the right to include or exclude your partner from your family business if necessary.
Simply put, you can include that if the marriage doesn’t work out, there will be no business relation anymore, or any variation in the relationship will not affect the business.
You can decide whether or not you need spousal support if the marriage doesn’t work out between you two in the future. If the answer is yes, you can also decide the alimony amount you want to receive from your spouse by discussing it with each other.
How to Write a Marriage Contract?
There are several factors that the couples must keep in their mind while planning to write a marriage agreement. At first, sit with your partner and then have a free face-to-face conversation.
After exchanging talks, arrive at a mutual decision as the chances are high that you can’t come to the same decisions. That’s why by keeping calm, discuss each other’s honest opinions. If needed, talk with the lawyers and consultants if you have any queries in your mind to clarify.
Once all these discussions are complete, your next job is doing research and then writing the contract carefully. Although you and your partner reserve all the rights to write your contract, there are still some vital clauses that you must include to get the correct one.
To help you around, we have come with the things to include while writing your marriage agreement. So you can know the exact way of writing, and there remains no scope of making any mistakes.
Only the proper format and things of writing these agreements make it valid. Otherwise, it is invalid in the eyes of the court. Let’s see the step by step procedures and clauses that couples must follow for writing their contract:
Step 1: Contract Date and Parties Description
The first and foremost of a contract is writing the agreement date and name of the husband and wife. And for the name part, write the title along with the title or the first name.
For instance, “this contract is entered into Jacob Schimmer (“Jacob”) and Robin Scabestian (“Robin”) on June 25, 2021.
Step 2: State the Property Rights
You must be completely honest in this area. Here, you need to specify that you have made your assets and possessions distribution decisions irrespective of the default property laws. And based on the distribution, all future decisions will be taken, which must be abode by all.
If the property is shared or has evidence of shared legal ownership, it cannot be called a Separate Property. Instead will fall under the Shared Property.
Except for these two issues, no one claims a right on the Separate Property unless a child is involved or there is no written statement regarding the allocation.
Step 3: Specify the Right to Take Legal Advice
You must make sure that both of you have willingly decided to make the contract. There was no force or rush in making and signing these contracts. And both of you reserve the equal right to take legal counseling from an experienced and skilled lawyer. It solely depends on you whether or not you want to take legal help or not. This term is basically to ensure that your right is honored and there is no violation.
Step 4: Acknowledgment of Both Parties
It is one of the common clauses and a must to have one in the contract. Here, both of you need to say that all the terms and conditions included in the contract are known.
Both of you fully understand and agree to all the clauses with full sense. And each of you believes that all the sayings and decisions made in the contract are fair and reasonable. There is no bias or partiality towards one party.
And if, by chance, any type of objection occurs or the marriage didn’t occur due to any reasons, then these contracts will become null.
The Bottom Line
The marriage contract can act as a helping hand for protecting various assets and possessions. Most importantly, there exists a slim chance of multiple fights and disputes about any financial stuff.
And the only reason behind this is the couples have made and signed the contract with full consent. And once the signing is complete, there is no turning back without any strong reason.
Therefore, think thoroughly, if needed, take time and then make the right decision for both of you as it involves your future life.