Do you need a Prenuptial Agreement in Ontario?

Table of Contents

A prenuptial agreement in Ontario or “prenup” is a wise investment to outline your and your partner’s finances prior to tying the knot! Also, in the unfortunate event of a relationship breakdown, a prenup ensures a fair distribution of assets.

Prenup is the American slang for ‘prenuptial agreement’ which is a legal term used in the United States. In Canada, our legislation refers to this type of agreement as a marriage contract or domestic contract.

A marriage contract is a proactive step to establishing transparency in your marriage, particularly if either of you have children from a previous relationship, or business, personal or family assets. By addressing these potential concerns upfront can minimize future conflicts and potentially avoid time in court.

What is a Marriage Contract / Prenuptial Agreement in Ontario?

Under section 52 of the Family Law Act (“FLA“), a marriage contract is a voluntary agreement between two individuals. A marriage contract can be entered into prior to marriage or after marriage – as long as it’s before a marriage breakdown!

Keep in mind that post-nups are subject to greater scrutiny by the courts, making them harder to enforce.

A marriage contract contemplates a couples’ rights and obligations within the marriage, or in the event of separation, divorce, annulment or death including:

  • ownership in or division of property;
  • support obligations;
  • the right to direct the education and moral training of children but not the right to custody or access to children; and
  • any other matter in the settlement of the couples’ affairs.

Keep in mind: you cannot limit your spouses’ right to possession of the matrimonial home or any other restrictions of a spouse’s rights under Part II of the FLA– these clauses will not hold up in court!

Prenups and the Matrimonial Home

There are certain legal rights under the FLA that a prenup cannot change. For example, Section 52(2) of the FLA specifically prohibits clauses that restrict a spouses’ right to possess or live in the matrimonial home (the property where the spouses lived during their marriage). What does that mean?

This means that each spouse has a right to remain in the home regardless of who holds legal title.

This right could change if there is a specific court order made or you and your spouse have a separation agreement. Until then, you cannot “kick out” your spouse because you both have a right to remain in the home!

Why Should You Consider a Prenuptial Agreement?

There are several reasons why couples might choose to have a prenuptial agreement:

  • Financial Clarity: Both parties provide full financial disclosure, meaning you and your partner will reveal all assets and liabilities to each other. This transparency helps in making informed decisions.
  • Protecting Assets: If either party has significant assets, a business, or an inheritance, a prenup can protect these in case of divorce.
  • Debt Protection: A prenup can prevent you from being responsible for your partner’s debts.
  • Avoiding Conflict: By agreeing on terms beforehand, you can prevent potential disputes during a separation or divorce.
  • Customizing Your Agreement: You can include specific provisions that suit your unique situation.

Common Misconceptions About Prenups

There are many misconceptions about prenuptial agreements. Some people believe that signing a prenup indicates a lack of trust or confidence in the relationship. However, a prenup is simply a practical way to protect both parties and provide clarity for the future. It’s about planning for all possible outcomes and ensuring that both individuals feel secure.

FAQs on Ontario Prenups

How much does a prenup cost in Ontario?

In Ontario, you can expect to pay between $1,500 and $30,000 dollars for a prenuptial agreement. At Angrove Law, we provide flat fee pricing with no retainers. We charge between $1,200 and $1,900 for custom prenuptial agreements.

The cost depends on how many assets you have, if you and your spouse are in agreement, and how clear your lawyers are. The cost of your marriage contract depends on the complexity of the division and the number of assets involved. Book a consult with us for your flat fee price!

Do you need a lawyer for a prenup in Ontario?

Independent Legal Advice is always recommended! Each party should have their own lawyer to explain the terms and ensure complete understanding before signing the agreement.

Are prenups enforceable in Ontario?

While they are legally enforceable in Ontario as long as they are valid. There are laws in place that may override any unconscionable clauses. That’s why drafting your marriage contract collaboratively, and getting independent legal advice with your partner is critical to ensure your contract is enforceable. Contact Angrove Law for Independent Legal Advice on your prenup!

Getting married is an exciting time in your life! Our lawyers make the process of drafting your prenuptial agreement smooth and stress-free. Contact Angrove Law today to get started on your prenup today!

prenuptial agreement in ontario

Transparent, Affordable and Friendly Legal Services In Ontario