For happy newlyweds, or men and women who have recently gotten engaged in Alberta, the end of their relationship is probably the last thing on their minds. Divorce is never a happy subject, but ironically, it might be a very good idea to discuss the possibility while a relationship is still at its peak. Much like making retirement plans in the prime of life, divorce is an event that should be planned for well in advance.
Statistics Canada reveals that 43 percent of married couples will divorce before they reach their 50th anniversary. Given those odds, it makes sense for a couple to pre-plan arrangements in case it comes to pass in their own lives. Experts indicate the legal fees for creating a marriage agreement are considerably lower than those associated with an unplanned divorce.
By pre-arranging a separation agreement, couples can make decisions for their individual financial well-being before it becomes critical to how they live. Real estate and other assets may be divided ahead of time so that they don’t become bargaining chips later on. Even spousal support can be pre-set. Child support and custody, however, cannot typically be determined in a marriage agreement.
Planning for a worst-case scenario is seldom top of mind for most people. It can be comforting, however, to know that if a marriage were ever to turn sour, the divorce process would be streamlined and simplified by having a pre-existing agreement. Alberta men and women who wish to discuss creating a marriage agreement, no matter the stage of their relationship, should consider sitting down with a family law attorney to learn what their options are.
Source: The Globe and Mail, “Marriage, cohabitation contracts can be good investments”, Aleksandra Sagan, Oct. 28, 2016