Domestic contracts are becoming increasingly popular in the relationship world. British Columbia family law paves the way for such contracts which can stipulate how partners wish to arrange their finances and other areas of their lives such as property ownership and other issues in the event of the relationship ending. An agreement of this sort can be fashioned at any point in the partnership — prior to marriage or cohabitation or after.
Such a document for common-law spouses is called a cohabitation agreement, while for married couples it’s referred to as a marriage contract. Both are domestic contracts. In either document the couple can be on the same page when it comes to things that differ from the norm in regard to family law rules concerning property and spousal support. However, the contract can’t stipulate who would have custody of any children should the relationship end or allude to any parenting plans. All issues regarding children would be decided at the time of separation.
If a couple should decide to separate, a separation agreement would define the particulars regarding children, division of property and spousal support. Prior to signing any domestic contract, the parties should have their lawyers look the document over. For a domestic contract to be legal, both people must sign it in front of a witness, who must also sign it.
British Columbia residents who are thinking of having domestic contracts written up, should speak to a lawyer experienced in family law. A lawyer will have the legal expertise to help clients draft appropriate contracts for their particular circumstances. A lawyer will make sure the contract is legal and binding.
Source: cleo.on.ca, “Domestic contracts“, Aug. 18, 2017