When people are planning their wedding, discussing what will happen to your property in the event of a divorce is typically not on the list of priorities. However, talking about a marital contract can be essential, especially for parties entering a marriage with significant individual assets.
If you are thinking of drafting this type of agreement but are unsure how to broach the topic with your partner, consider the following tips.
Focus on the benefits
People often assume the worst when someone says they want a marriage contract. They might feel their partner doubts the marriage or is planning to divorce.
However, having this type of agreement should not be seen as a bad omen or pessimistic. Rather, you might urge your soon-to-be-spouse to see it in a similar vein as an insurance policy: crucial protection for something you hope never happens.
You can also discuss the fact that these contracts can benefit and protect both parties. In fact, an agreement that is incredibly unfair to one party may not be valid in the first place.
Give your partner time and space to make decisions
After explaining why you want a marriage contract, give your partner time and space to consider what you have said. Welcome their questions and be patient if they are not sure what to say right away.
In other words, you should not drop the topic on them right before the wedding. Your fiancé(e) deserves to have the same time and consideration you have had when thinking about what they want.
Further, if you do not give them sufficient time to review a contract before the wedding, they can feel pressured or coerced into signing it. Under these circumstances, the agreement could be invalid.
Ask for legal guidance
Marital contracts and property division laws in Ontario are complex, and as we explain in this article, the laws change over time. Thus, attempting to create an effective, valid document without legal guidance can be unwise.
A lawyer can negotiate terms and make adjustments so that it is legally valid. Further, this person can help parties remain objective when addressing sensitive financial matters.
Discussing a marriage contract may not be comfortable, but it does not need to be contentious. Approaching the situation with honesty, patience and professional guidance can help you navigate this conversation peacefully.