May 20, 2021
Cohabitation and Prenuptial Agreements Basics with Ceri Chwieros
A Cohabitation Agreement or Prenuptial Agreement is a legal contract between a couple about their finances. It allows the couple to decide for themselves what will happen to their assets and debts (and sometimes spousal support) if they separate, or as part of estate planning. It can be broad, and try to cover all assets and debts. Or, it can be narrow and deal with only one “special” asset, such as the farm, or business.
Back in my day….it was common for couples to take a “marriage preparation” course. This would cover topics such as integrating households, family financial management and communication. The course wasn’t about separation, but it helped couples to have those often hard conversations about money management.
Financial conversations remain important when entering into any cohabitation or marriage relationship. Often people are unaware of what the default law is, if they do break up. An Agreement allows couples to, up front, learn about the law and then set out their own financial plan in the event of a separation.
The goal is to have the open communication about finances early, so that if there is a break-up, that aspect is already resolved. This can reduce legal fees, stress and prolonged resolutions.
Each agreement is different: it is tailored to your and your spouses’ goals, needs, and interests, while understanding the “default” law (under the Alberta Family Property Act, Family Law Act, Divorce Act, and so forth). Both spouses must agree to all terms, and each has their own lawyer. Contact your lawyer to learn more about these Agreements.
If you have any further questions about this topic or any other family law matter, contact us to speak with Ceri or another one of our expert family lawyers.
-Written by Ceri Chwieros