Westside Family Law

A full-service family law firm serving West Vancouver and the surrounding areas


How pre-nuptial agreements define potential property division

Those who have their own assets before entering a marriage or co-habitation situation may wish to take steps to protect themselves. A pre-nuptial agreement is one option many British Columbia couples can consider to protect their interests in case of any future need for property division. While these can be controversial for some couples, these documents can help lay a foundation for a relationship by clarifying goals and expectations.

A pre-nuptial agreement can define a number of things, including how assets will be divided in case of separation and what should happen if one partner should die while together. This can help to define what will be kept separate and what will be combined during a relationship. For example, a person with shares in a family enterprise may choose to keep this separate from the spouse while sharing the marital home. People may also wish for a partner to have a access to half of their assets if they die but far less if a break-up led to property division.

There are several ways to negotiate such an agreement. The most traditional model is for one partner to ask his or her lawyer to generate a first draft, prompting a negotiation with the other. Other couples will negotiate before a first draft is put together by a lawyer. In all cases, both people should be comfortable with what they are signing, and the contract should follow family law in the province of British Columbia.

Couples do not have to wait for a legal marriage to create such an agreement. Contracts about how property division will be handled in case of a break-up can be drafted prior to co-habiting or taking a major life step as a couple. In any case, involving a British Columbia lawyer for both parties will ensure the process is legally sound.

Source: huffingtonpost.ca, "4 Ways To Negotiate Your Prenup And Start Marriage On The Right Foot", Nathalie Boutet, Sept. 21, 2017

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