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Prenuptial (“Prenup”) agreements

separation support

A prenup agreement is a legal contract between a couple made in contemplation of their marriage. It sets out how property is to be owned during a marriage, how property is to be divided in the event of a separation and how property is to be distributed in the event of one party’s death (in conjunction with a Will). A good prenuptial agreement will deal with assets held in joint and separate names, will set out what types of assets are to be kept separate, what types of assets that are to be divided (and how they are to be divided), and will deal with the increases in value of separate assets, the division of liabilities, and can even address the issue of spousal support. A prenup agreement is invaluable in the event of separation, as it can save parties a great deal of stress, time and money by avoiding a legal dispute.

A good prenup is difficult to draft and is exceedingly important. Not only do you need to have confidence that your prenup accurately reflects your intentions and desires, you also need to have faith that it is binding and enforceable. There are a variety of ways that prenups can be challenged and having a thorough and well-drafted prenup is priceless. Our senior lawyers at Jones Divorce and Family Law have extensive experience with prenups.

Cohabitation (“Cohab”) agreements

A cohabitation agreement is a legal contract between a couple that is living together but not getting married. Like a prenup, it governs how property is to be owned, how property is to be divided in the event of a separation and how property is to be distributed in the event of one partys death (in conjunction with a Will). A cohab agreement can address the same issues as a prenup (jointly owned and separately owned property, what property is to be kept separate and what property is to be shared, address increase in value, division of debt and support) but is arguably even more essential than a prenup agreement because the division of property for unmarried couples is such a gray area of the law. The court has a great deal of discretion in dealing with the division of property for unmarried couples and the division can be anything from each party retaining what is in their own names to an equal division of solely and jointly owned assets. The uncertainty in this area of the law tends to lead to costly legal battles.

It is vital that people know that living together at all, never mind for a specific length of time, is not required in order to gain an interest in anothers property or to gain a right to regular financial support. If you are in a relationship where the other party is providing contribution (financial or otherwise) and / or where you are providing financial assistance (gifts of trips, jewelry, assistance with expenses of any kind), you could be in a relationship with a legal obligation to provide a portion of your property or your income to the other party. Be prudent and obtain good legal advice before that legal obligation is created without your knowledge or consent. A contract can protect you.

A Marriage Agreement or Post Nuptial Agreement

A marriage agreement or a postnup is a legal contract between a couple executed after they are married. Like a prenup, it sets out how property is to be owned during a marriage, how property is to be divided in the event of a separation and how property is to be distributed in the event of one partys death (in conjunction with a Will). Postnups are common when there is a family trust created after marriage when one spouse is likely to receive an inheritance. A good postnuptial agreement will deal with assets held in joint and separate names, will set out what types of assets are to be kept separate, what types of assets that are to be divided (and how they are to be divided), and will deal with the increases in value of separate assets, the division of liabilities, and can even address the issue of spousal support. A prostnup agreement is invaluable in the event of separation, as it can save parties a great deal of stress time and money by avoiding a lengthy and expensive legal dispute.

A with a prenup, a good postnup agreement is not an easy document to draft but is exceedingly important. Not only do you need to have confidence that your postnup accurately reflects your intentions and desires, you also need to have faith that it is binding and enforceable.

How we can help you negotiate a legal agreement

The creation of a prenup, cohab, or postnup agreement does not need to be an oppositional process but has the risk of becoming adversarial when lawyers that lack the appropriate temperament and experience. At Jones Divorce and Family Law we are committed to providing positive and constructive assistance, and offer significant experience with all types of agreements. Protect yourself and connect with our team today to get started.

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