There are numerous benefits to drawing up a prenuptial agreement before you get married or move in with your partner. These contracts can ensure you are on the same page regarding expectations and understanding each other’s financial status. You can also protect yourself and your property in the event that the relationship ends.
So, having these agreements can be a smart idea. However, they may not be effective if they are invalid.
Elements of unenforceable contracts
In general, courts will not enforce an invalid cohabitation or prenuptial agreement. In other words, your contract could provide no protection to either of you if it fails to meet the necessary requirements.
Some of the common issues that can make your agreement invalid include:
- You signed it without legal counsel.
- You or your partner did not accurately and fully disclose financial information.
- It contains seriously unfair clauses.
- There are unrealistic requirements for one or both of you.
- You or your partner were forced or threatened to sign it.
- Your agreement wasn’t in writing.
Under these circumstances, the courts can set aside the agreement and make decisions based on Alberta’s Family Property Act instead.
Avoiding costly mistakes
When it comes to making a cohabitation or prenuptial agreement, you can avoid costly mistakes with a few simple steps:
- Talk to lawyers individually to create and review the contract.
- Give yourselves plenty of time to discuss the agreement before moving in together or marrying.
- Be honest and open with your disclosures.
- Negotiate any aspects that are unclear or unfair.
It’s also important to note that if you are already married, you can still secure the same protections of a cohabitation or prenuptial agreement by signing a postnuptial agreement. These accomplish and cover the same things, but parties sign them after marrying.
Making informed decisions
When it comes to relationships, legal contracts may not be the most romantic thing to discuss. However, having a valid and fair agreement can give you and your partner the peace of mind you deserve now and in the future.