COHABITATION AND MARRIAGE AGREEMENTS
In Ontario, it is possible to enter into a contract that governs division of property and spousal support rights upon the breakdown of the relationship. Such a contract overrides the rights and obligations under the Ontario Family Law Act or the Canada Divorce Act.
It is advisable that partners who plan to cohabit or marry seek legal advice and consider entering into a contract to determine rights and obligations upon separation or death.
This is particularly important:
1. If this is not a first marriage or common law relationship.
2. If parties have children from previous relationships.
3. If either party has significant assets.
4. If one of the parties earns a significantly larger income than the other.
The terms of a marriage or cohabitation agreement can be negotiated through mediation or solicitor negotiation. In either case, financial disclousure and independent legal advice are crucial to ensure the agreement is not vulnerable in the future.
If you plan on a marriage, you should keep in mind that the matrimonial home is given very special treatment under the Ontario Family Law Act. If you are planning to move into a home owned by you or your fiancé before or after your wedding, there are significant implications to your property rights upon the breakdown of the marriage, or death.