If you recently celebrated your engagement over the holidays, the topic of finances may have quickly surfaced in discussions with your partner, from paying for the wedding to the price of real estate to whether a prenuptial agreement should be in place before the wedding day. The conversation about an orderly distribution of assets and debts upon the breakdown of the relationship may seem incredulous at this preliminary stage. However, that is the optimum time to reflect on the advantages of having a binding domestic agreement in place early. Financial transparency, identifying common values and beliefs, and planning a unified vision for the future brings certainty, calmness, and may reveal potential financials concerns which can be resolved or managed with professional advisors. Over 40% of Canadian marriages end in divorce, and thinking about the unpredictable future may save you time, money and prolonged heartbreak if things do not work out. Benefits of Signing a Prenuptial Agreement A prenuptial agreement offers partners a process by which they can explore expectations and shared understandings. The first step is the exchange of full financial disclosure with supporting valuations, and documentation for each entry. Discussions relating to the disclosure include patterns and sources of income, current and future assets intended to be exempt from division, care of children from former unions, and the disposition of residences. The agreement may provide for financial responsibilities during and after the marriage. A prenup will also be able to protect business interests. A non-disclosure agreement to secure privacy, protect against defamation of your business or affect its reputation during a potential divorce. Contemporaneous with the execution of the domestic contract will be a shareholder agreement to provide notice to the ownership group of an impending separation or divorce to permit negotiations to prompt avoid accidental partnerships with former spouses. The negotiation of the domestic contract sets the tone for what may become the toughest discussions of the relationship. Legal representation is one aspect of the process. Including a facilitator keeps communication on point, respectful and ensures every voice is heard, and every issue explored. The prenuptial agreement will act as a roadmap in the event of a breakdown developed when the relationship is flourishing. Setting a timetable to revisit the terms will ensure that they remain current and relevant. Prenuptial Agreements in Toronto If you are considering the value of a prenuptial agreement or require independent legal advice regarding a contract provided to you, contact Lorisa Stein. Lorisa can be reached directly by phone at 416-596-8081 or by filling out the online contact form.