Marriage Agreements in British Columbia.

Pre-nuptial Agreements and the new BC Family Law Act

Since the new BC Family Law Act was full implemented in March 2013, pre-nuptial agreements have become even more important to consider before entering a relationship.

BC Marriage Agreements that can be trusted

It should be pointed out that marrying couples already have a “prenuptial agreement” – it is known as divorce law. But there is a much to be desired in divorce law, and many people are unhappy with the way it works. They often prefer to take control of their lives and divorces, rather than leave it in the hands of a single judge. In many cases, it makes a lot of sense to get a customized prenuptial agreement from a trusted mediation agency.

Regarding common law relationships in BC, JP Boyd, the Vancouver Family Law Lawyer, says that while the BC Family Relations Act is still in effect, it is a “very, very bad idea” for unmarried couples to enter into a cohabitation agreement for the purpose of protecting property brought into the relationship. However, he says, “That’s all changed as a result of the enactment of the Family Law Act.”  (You can read the entirety of the Family Law Act on the website for the Legislative Assembly of BC.)

If you’re considering whether or not you need a prenuptial agreement, consider the following most common scenarios where a prenuptial agreement absolutely makes sense:

  1. You’re wealthier than your partner.
  2. You’re remarrying.
  3. You earn much more than your partner.
  4. Your partner has a high debt load.
  5. You own a business.
  6. You have a family trust and you wish to leave it intact.

4 Most Common Issues

Making a prenup durable requires some due diligence on the part of the couple. The first of these is ensure that both parties are free from duress. If one party exerted an undue amount of pressure on the other to enter into the agreement, then it may be set aside.

A second important factor is financial disclosure. Both parties need to put all the “cards” on the table and not hide anything, or it may be set aside. A good idea is to put this disclosure in writing and keep it and consider even attaching it to the agreement.

The third thing is consider getting independent legal advice. The agreement must be in writing and it needs to executed properly.

And the final factor in making it durable is fairness, or it could be thrown out.

If you need help negotiating or drafting a marriage agreement call a trusted lawyer. If you need a mediator to help you negotiate your agreements before seeing an expensive lawyer, give us call at 250.707.0928, or request a consultation.

About Kelowna Divorce Services

We are a local company serving the British Columbia Okanagan Valley since 2009. We are open Monday – Friday
from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm, and Saturdays/evenings by appointment.

We are not expensive lawyers; we are family divorce mediators.  Our boutique divorce mediation firm has become Kelownas’ first choice when dealing with separation and divorce. It is possible to reduce stress, time and conflict. Our mediation model educates and empowers our clients, so that when you leave you have a document that will stand the test of time.