Family Law Real 101 Episodes

Why You Need a Marriage Contract and How Can it Protect You

In this episode of Real 101: The Home Buying and Selling Show, Toronto Family Lawyer John Schuman discusses family law and particularly why you might need a marriage contract.

 How Can You Protect Yourself in a Marriage?

No matter how much in love you are with your future spouse it is always a good idea to protect yourself in a marriage. One way to do this is to both agree to sign a marriage contract. Typically, it is signed by people planning to get married, but in Canada you can also sign one during marriage.

In Ontario, for instance, you can sign a marriage contract before or after the marriage up until the time you separate. The only time when you can’t sign one is right before a wedding. This is because of all the pressure and stress on the spouses to organize the ceremony.

A contract like this can even save your marriage. If you marriage is going through a rough patch, this piece of paper can help save your relationship. For example, if your spouse has stopped working or has started gambling, you can get him or her to sign a marriage contract and protect yourself from the problems the other side has.

What You Can and What You Can’t Put in a Marriage Contract

A marriage contract is used to set up how thins will be divided between you and your spouse. That being said, there are a number of things that you can put in it.

Here’s what you can put in a marriage contract:

  • The way you divide the property after separation
  • Set up what spouse support will be and what it won’t be

On the other hand, you can’t put much in regards to raising children in a marriage contract. This is typically left to the judge’s discretion.  You also can’t opt out of child support guidelines in one. Those are basically mandatory and it is very hard to get out of them.

Another thing you can’t put in a marriage contract is to require someone to leave a matrimonial home. You can set up in the contract that you will keep the house as the owner and keep all the value in it, but not force your spouse out of the matrimonial home.

Finally, you can’t require in a marriage contract that you and your spouse will use a method other than court to resolve your marriage problems. You can still go to an arbitrator or a mediator, but this can’t be required in a marriage contract.

Watch this episode to learn more about marriage contract.

For more information on family law contract:

John Schuman


Phone: 416.446.5080

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