Domestic contracts are written agreements made between two partners in a relationship. This relationship can be a marriage, common-law or for a couple who are about to get married.
What are the different types of domestic contracts?
A cohabitation agreement is a domestic contract between common-law partners. A marriage contract is a domestic contract between two legally married spouses. A prenuptial agreement is a domestic contract between a couple who are going to be legally married. A separation agreement is also a kind of domestic contract which lays out steps for dealing with issues in the event of their separation, death of a partner or divorce.
A couple may decide to separate and end their relationship. In this case, they will need to make important decisions on matters including:
- Which spouse will stay in the house
- Decisions regarding where the children will live and who will care for them
- Deciding which spouse will take care of all decisions about the child
- All financial support matters including child and spousal support
- Division of property and all other marital assets
A marriage contract between spouses is a written domestic contract which mentions how their issues will be resolved during and at the end of their relationship. It can be made after the partners get married legally. As per Canadian divorce laws, marriage is deemed as an equal partnership. At the end of a marriage, all assets are typically divided equally in the absence of any marriage contract declaring otherwise.
What are Cohabitation Agreements?
Common law spouses can formulate a cohabitation agreement, which is deemed to be a marriage contract after the spouses get married legally.
A contract made between two spouses before they get legally married is called a prenuptial agreement. Common-law couples can make a cohabitation agreement which is deemed to be a marriage contract if the spouses finally get married.
What are the Issues discussed in a Domestic Contract?
A domestic contract deals with many issues regarding the relationship including:
- Decisions regarding where the children will live, study and child support matters
- Decide on the parenting plan for the children
- Decide on assets and debts
- Decide who will stay in the matrimonial home – married couples have an equal right to stay in the marital home which is not present in the case of common law couples
- Spousal support -who will pay, its duration and its amount for one spouse
- Whether or not to go for divorce and which spouse will file for it
- One spouse may make a safety plan for themselves and the children if the other spouse has been abusive
Is a domestic contract enforceable in court?
A domestic contract can be enforced by courts only if it abides by certain rules including:
- Both spouses need to understand the contract completely
- Both spouses need to do a full disclosure of their income, assets and liabilities
- The Contract should be signed by both the spouses
- It should not be unfair on either of the spouses
- Both spouses need to sign the contract
How We Can Help
At Nanda & Associate Lawyers, our excellent Family Law lawyers help in making effective representation for domestic contracts. They understand your specific circumstances and provide tailored and customized solutions for each of them. Many legal complexities exist in drafting domestic contracts, and an experienced family law lawyer can help you to navigate better. Our Mississauga Family Law Lawyers are available for a no-obligation free consultation. Come and experience our quality legal counsel and personalized care we give to each client.