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Family law: the value of a prenuptial agreement

For most people, the prospect of marriage brings with it boundless hope and optimism for the future. Of course, British Columbia residents are aware that nearly half of all these marriages will end in divorce. This is why family law experts so often laud the value of a prenuptial agreement drafted in advance of a marriage to help protect both spouses in the event of a divorce later in life.

Starting a marriage with a "prenup" is often seen as fatalistic or as setting the marriage up for failure. Many family law experts disagree, as a prenuptial agreement can provide a level of stability in a marriage that might be lacking for a couple who does not look to the future in this way. A prenup is intended to parse out how assets and debts will be divided, particularly as they pertain to major assets like a family home or vehicles.

Many parents are now urging their children to sign prenups ahead of marriage. This is especially true in instances in which one family has provided substantial financial support to the couple in purchasing a first home, for example. The argument goes that a prenup is simply a safeguard set up to handle a possible divorce, thereby protecting the assets of both spouses as they move forward in their own post-divorce lives.

While it may be difficult for some British Columbia couples to draft or even discuss a prenuptial agreement, many family law experts still suggest it, particularly to young couples entering their first marriages. If both spouses agree to seek the support of experienced attorneys in drafting such a document, they can move ahead secure in the knowledge that a safety net exists should the marriage fail. This is not a question of starting the marriage off on the wrong foot but rather from a position of security.

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