A marriage agreement is an agreement entered into by two people who intend to marry or are already married. A marriage agreement usually sets out how the spouses will govern their financial affairs during the marriage and upon the breakdown of the marriage, particularly in relation to spousal support and division of property and debt.
A cohabitation agreement is an agreement entered into by two people who intend to live together or who are already living together. Common law spouses who have lived together for a period of at least 2 years are subject to the same legal regime in respect of property and debt division as married spouses.
Marriage and cohabitation agreements allow people to decide how they wish to conduct their financial affairs during the relationship/marriage and upon the breakdown of the relationship/marriage. They also provide an opportunity for people to learn about the legal regime and how their property/debt and income earning situation will be affected by the new marital or living status.
Drafting a comprehensive and fair marriage/cohabitation agreement is very important, as the courts have the power to set aside agreements that are found to be significantly unfair. It is important that there is relevant information about each party, such as property owned and debts owed, earning potential, plans for future education, significant health issues and legal duties to support third parties, to name just a few. It is best practice for each party to obtain independent legal advice before signing an agreement.
In addition to drafting marriage and cohabitation agreements, we have experience in litigation related to setting aside or varying the terms of the agreement.