Posted by Dave on April 6, 2010
I don’t have a prenuptial agreement with my wife. We talked about it (or I did) and the subject was dropped as some of the parties involved in the discussion found the whole thing mildly offensive. Although not a very romantic idea (there is really no good way to bring up the end of a marriage before the wedding has even taken place) I think this kind of arrangement has merit and should at least be taken under consideration.
On top of a prenuptial agreement, I think that couples at some point should have a realistic discussion of custody for children and other shared property. Maybe I’m a little odd, but according to 2008 estimates from Statistics Canada, 38% of all marriages in the country end in divorce (a low of 22% in Newfoundland and Labrador to a high of 48% in Quebec – the latest US statistics show 44%). If I have a 4 in 10 chance (statistically) of something like this happening, I think at least a general discussion at some point in the relationship is warranted.
Having previously failed at a prenuptial, and besides the fact that I (and hopefully my wife) are very happily married, we have discussed some of the rules of divorce – after reading up on them for a friend who is going through this event, and now understand the basics of the law and who would get what (she believes I should have to pay a 25% tax because she is by far the more attractive of the two of us – something I don’t deny, but I’m unsure I should have to pay for ). Beyond that, we don’t really discuss the end of our relationship – it’s just not that nice of a topic.
Here are some of the interesting things I did find out about divorce and separation law (in Ontario):
There are several ways that a separation can be arranged:
- An informal arrangement (verbal or in writing)
- Write down your decisions in a separation agreement, which must be signed by a witness.
- Through a mediator or arbitrator.
- Through the use of collaborative family law.
- By going to court and asking the court to decide.
The Family Home – Both parties have a right to stay in the home – basically, you can’t be kicked out by your spouse – there has to be an agreement of who gets to stay.
The Divorce – A couple can get a divorce by proving that the marriage is over either by:
- Showing that they have been separated for a year.
- Proving (not sure how) that your husband or wife has had a sexual relationship with another person. Or,
- Your husband or wife has been physically or mentally cruel to you.
Child Support – I didn’t know that there was a table for child support that sets out the amounts based on the person’s income who is paying child support.
Spousal Support – Is dependent on many factors that need to be well documented, such as:
- The age and health of the couple;
- Available employment opportunities;
- The effect being married had on employment opportunities;
- The contribution made to family care during the marriage;
- The family’s standard of living
I’m not sure how different other Provinces laws are, but those were the “high” points of this somewhat morbid topic for me, and I am hoping I never have to utilize the knowledge gained in this reading.
Do you and your spouse have a pre or post nuptial agreement? Have you discussed what would happen at the end of your relationship?