Marriage Contracts / Domestic Contracts and Your Calgary Divorce: Part 1
October 19, 2016
Calgary divorces can be complex legal affairs, and ensuring you come through your divorce with the best possible chance at the future you deserve often requires legal assistance. This is often true even if you signed a domestic contract—commonly called a prenuptial agreement—before getting married. It is especially important to partner with an experienced Calgary divorce lawyer to obtain independent legal advice prior to signing any contract.
Domestic contracts can't always be enforced in full, but at the same time they can't always be changed just because circumstances or attitudes have shifted. You need to talk to a Calgary lawyer with experience in divorce and family law before signing any domestic agreement, and you should also seek professional legal advice if you're getting a divorce and believe the terms of an existing domestic contract should be changed.
Calgary's Courts Want Domestic Contracts Upheld
In general, Calgary judges want to enforce contracts that have been signed in good faith. Assuming both parties were honest regarding their finances and assets when the contract was signed, and assuming both parties fully understood the contract and were over the age of 18 when the contract was signed and received independent legal advice, the Court is generally reluctant to set aside contracts of any type, including domestic contracts. This is why it is especially important for you to consult with a lawyer before you sign a domestic agreement, so you can make sure you're protecting your rights and interests.
Alberta's Matrimonial Property Act specifically requires that both spouses seek advice from their own, independent lawyer prior to signing a contract that might limit their rights in a divorce. This further emphasizes the need to consult with a lawyer before entering into any such agreement, and also shows just why seeking legal advice is so important: signing a domestic contract might limit your rights to certain property and other assets that you would otherwise have under Calgary's divorce laws. In addition, if you signed a domestic contract to protect your financial interests, the contract can be voided if your spouse did not receive independent legal counsel prior to signing.
Whether you are seeking to have your domestic contract changed or enforced at the time of your divorce, there are legal complications that might make your position less secure. While the Courts try to enforce contracts when possible, there are many circumstances that can affect your contract and the outcome of your divorce.
Contact a Calgary Divorce Lawyer Today
We'll look at a few more special circumstances affecting domestic contracts in Part 2 of this article. No information published on this or any other website can give you answers to your specific legal questions, though, as every Calgary divorce and every domestic contract is unique. For answers to questions about your specific situation, please contact our office to schedule an appointment today.
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