Family Law


Marriage Contracts and Cohabitation Agreements

Marriage contracts (sometimes called a “pre-nup”) and cohabitation agreements are legal contracts, just like any other type of contract you may have with a business partner or for employment. They are written documents that summarize each person’s legal obligations to the other.

Marriage contracts can be between spouses who are already married, or people who are planning to marry. Cohabitation agreements can be between people who are already living together or people who are planning to live together.

These domestic contracts set out a series of promises that you each make to the other, usually about what will happen in the event the relationship ends, but sometimes also about what will happen during the relationship.

Typically, marriage contracts and cohabitation agreements talk about who will be responsible for managing and owning property and debts during the relationship, and about how those financial issues will be handled if the relationship breaks down. They sometimes also say whether spousal support will be paid in the event the relationship breaks down.

Marriage contracts and cohabitation agreements can be invaluable in protecting your assets and outlining financial and property obligations in the event of a breakdown of the relationship.


Separation Agreements

A separation agreement is the written record of how a couple has settled of the issues arising from the end of their relationship. For most spouses, these issues include:

  • Who the children should live with and how decisions about the care of the children will be made. This is referred to as custody.
  • How the spouses will share the children’s time.  Under the law, this referred to as access.
  • How the spouses will cover the children’s financial needs. This is called child support.
  • Whether a spouse is entitled to financial help meeting his or her expenses, and, if so, who should provide that help and in what amount. This is called spousal support.
  • For married spouses, how property will be divided and how responsibility for debts will be shared.

If you can manage to settle these issues, you should seriously consider making a separation agreement for two main reasons. First, separation agreements are legal contracts that can be enforced by the court and the Family Responsibility Office (support obligations). Second, it’s much cheaper and often quicker to resolve these issues by agreement than in court.


Uncontested or Simple Divorce

Under the Divorce Act, couples who have been separated for at least one year can file an uncontested or simple divorce application.  This application can be done by either spouse or jointly. 
This type of application works well for couples who have a separation agreement in place, especially one dealing with any child support obligations.  As long as neither spouse contests the application, a judge will review the materials without the need for either spouse to attend court.  If the judge is satisfied with the materials, he or she will grant the divorce.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss how we can assist you with your Marriage Contract, Cohabitation Agreement, Separation Agreement or Uncontested Divorce Application.





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