Domestic Contracts

Cohabitation Agreements, Marriage Contracts and Separation Agreements

We have extensive experience in preparing, negotiating and providing independent legal advice on separation agreements, marriage contracts (also called prenuptial agreements) and other domestic contracts.

Domestic contracts, especially separation agreements, should contain all terms relating to your global settlement, including custody, access, child support, section 7 special or extraordinary expenses, spousal support, net family property equalization and property division.

Separation Agreements

Family law is different than other areas of law or litigation, in that you and your partner or spouse may be required to co-exist and communicate after the proceedings are concluded. This may be because you have children together, and you are required to communicate about parenting issues, discuss major decisions regarding the children, and cooperate on financial support of the children.

If possible, you should attempt to settle your issues amicably and expediently in a domestic contract, rather than have the final determination of the issues imposed upon you by a judge in court. In our experience, domestic contracts are much more comprehensive than court orders. Also, when the parties themselves determine the terms of their agreement on issues such as parenting plans and property division, they tend to be happier with the results, and the agreement terms are much more sustainable in the long run. Ultimately, the goal is to remain a family, although that family is restructured and living in separate homes.

As your lawyers, we’ll help you achieve that goal through an out-of-court settlement. That said, we are adept at assessing matters quickly, and we understand that in some situations, an out-of-court settlement is not possible. We are equally experienced in advocating for our clients in the court process, and we are prepared to do so when necessary.

Cohabitation Agreements and Marriage Contracts

Cohabitation agreements and marriage contracts (prenuptial agreements) are becoming more common, particularly when one of the parties has been divorced before and/or has children from a previous relationship. These agreements, made before or during marriage, allow you to set out in a contract how you will divide your property in the event of a relationship breakdown, or if one of you passes away. You can make these arrangements amicably and fairly, and rely upon them in the event of a marriage breakdown or death.

Most of the time, when partners or spouses separate and they do not have a cohabitation agreement or marriage contract, a global settlement of all issues is negotiated and set down in a separation agreement.