Marriage Contracts / Domestic Contracts and Your Calgary Divorce: Part 3
November 7, 2016
In Parts 1 and 2 of this article, you learned that domestic contracts—commonly referred to as "prenuptial agreements"—are not always ironclad. While judges in the Calgary Court will generally try to enforce contracts as much as possible, they cannot be used to thwart or avoid certain provisions of the laws in place in Calgary related to divorce.
Specifically, domestic contracts can be considered void if one or both parties were not honest about property and other assets, weren't mentally or legally capable of entering into the contract, were coerced or forced into signing, or were subject to any other circumstance that might renter any other contract unenforceable.
Other factors in some Calgary divorces may also impact if and how a domestic contract is enforced by the Calgary Court. Every contract, and every divorce case, is unique and requires specific review and analysis by an experienced eye—for specific questions regarding your divorce, please contact our office to schedule an appointment today.
What Will—and Won't—Affect Your Calgary Divorce and Domestic Contract
Assuming a domestic contract was fully legal and valid when it was signed and that the agreements made are unaffected by any children, there is little reason for a judge to choose not to enforce part or all of the contract. Issues such as infidelity, accusations of mistreatment, and other interpersonal problems will not tend to have an impact on a domestic contract. Just as these issues are not considered relevant to the other legal aspects of a divorce, the Calgary Court does not consider these issues when determining the validity of a domestic contract.
Mistreatment that rises to the level of criminal assault, however, can lead to changes in a domestic contract or potentially lead to it being rendered entirely void. In some cases, a domestic contract may be altered or voided if one of the parties suffers a significant mental or physical disability during the marriage—the Court wants to ensure that both parties in a divorce have the best possible chance of leading an independent life, and in extreme cases this can override an existing domestic contract.
Again, it is impossible to determine how the laws and Court precedents will play out in any specific divorce case; the circumstances of the domestic contract the marriage, and the divorce itself must all be taken into account. This is why we remind our clients that every divorce is different, and that divorce law is far from black-and-white—even when you have a contract that's supposed to make things easy.
For Help with Your Calgary Divorce, Contact Us Today
Whether or not you have a domestic contract in place, it is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced Calgary divorce lawyer if you are planning on getting a divorce. To schedule an appointment today, please contact our office.
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