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Prenuptial Marriage Agreements

What do you need to know about prenuptial marriage agreements?

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Why is a prenuptial agreement so important?

Having an agreement in writing provides a framework to ensure both full financial disclosure by the parties at the outset of the marriage, and the mutual expectations should the relationship end. This, in turn, leads to financial stability and peace of mind, which can reduce the stress that sometimes causes relationships to end in the first place.

The process of negotiating a prenuptial agreement may include:

  • Evaluation of company holdings – professional valuations of any businesses, details of the valuation method, and any recent offers to purchase the business(es) are required.
  • Identification of assets, debts and trusts. Future spouses may have entitlement to family property including business interests, and may be liable for family debts, so it’s critical to the validity of the prenuptial agreement that all items be disclosed and made available for investigation and valuation. This may include disclosure of recent loan applications to banks and lenders, and net worth statements.

Is a prenup a sign of mistrust? How can I convince my future spouse of the benefits?

Money-talk is always a touchy subject, but having a conversation about disclosure and financial expectations early in the relationship sets a healthy tone for honesty, transparency and helps to create a joint vision for the couple’s financial future. These are all positive factors that will strengthen the prospects of the relationship. They also show that the relationship is being taken seriously.

Couples with significant assets on one or both sides, family businesses, or that include a spouse entering into a second marriage may have more complex requirements.

A prenup is just good business sense. It can reduce the emotional heartache and legal stress when unraveling the family assets down the road.

At Herr Law Group, we counsel people on the benefits to both parties of having a sound prenuptial agreement in place.

Are there any issues a marriage agreement cannot address?

A marriage agreement can cover a wide range of issues, but it cannot include restrictions on parental responsibilities, parenting time or child support.

Issues related to the rights of children and parenting cannot be decided by a contract between parents until after a spousal relationship ends.

How much do prenuptial agreements cost?

Herr Law Group works with each client to develop a marriage agreement specific to their lifestyle and financial situation. The cost of a prenuptial agreement will depend upon the complexity of the couple’s assets and business holdings.

Being prepared with full disclosure and backup documentation will help the process. Hiring a qualified, experienced family lawyer who understands your needs and transforms them into enforceable, reasonable, and legally persuasive clauses in a formal pre-marriage agreement, could save you tens of thousands of dollars should your ex-partner later choose to bring any action against you to invalidate your agreement.

You have the choice to spend a fraction of the money upfront that you might otherwise spend in future fighting your ex-spouse over a non-existent or poorly crafted agreement. Make the right choice for peace of mind. Invest in a properly drafted prenuptial agreement. Herr Law Group offers consultation meetings as little as 30 minutes. This initial discussion can help set the framework for drafting an agreement.

Can we use the same lawyer for our prenuptial agreement?

It is best practice in BC not to use the same lawyer for prenuptial agreements. Herr Law Group will not represent both parties, so it’s recommended that the partner seek independent legal review of the drafted agreement.

How long does a prenup last?

A prenuptial agreement may last a lifetime, but for long-term marriages, it’s wise to review agreements if circumstances significantly change.

Agreements can only be amended if both parties agree. Another good time to review a marriage agreement is when a couple changes or updates a will, or has a child, unless that scenario is expressly contemplated and dealt with in the language.


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