Marital Agreements

The purpose of a marital agreement (whether that be a prenuptial agreement, domestic partnership agreement, post-nuptial agreement or reconciliation agreement) is to specify how property will be divided upon the death, dissolution or divorce of the parties. A marital agreement does not mean that a marriage or union is doomed from the start! However, we see plenty of blended families today and it is important to protect and document how assets will be distributed during one of these life events. These agreements are entered into in recognition of present financial circumstances. In conjunction with estate planning, marital agreements serve the purpose of providing clear instructions and intent for the distribution of assets.


A prenuptial agreement is entered into prior to marriage by the spouses who intend to marry in consideration of marriage. Typical provisions include a division of property upon death or divorce, spousal support, grounds for forfeiture of assets and guardianship.


A domestic partnership agreement serves the same purpose as a prenuptial agreement, but can be used to keep assets separate, protect oneself from the partner’s debts, support a partner’s estate plan, provide for the division of property upon death or dissolution of the relationship, clarify responsibilities during the partnership and provide for minor children.


A post-nuptial marital agreement is executed after a couple gets married. It is similar to a prenuptial agreement in that it provides for the division of property upon the death or divorce of the parties and spousal support, while taking into condition current financial circumstances.


A reconciliation agreement is made when a marriage has deteriorated to a point of separation and is on the cusp of divorce. Sometimes counselling or time away will heal a marriage and this agreement is entered into to preserve the marriage after a period of separation when both parties have determined to proceed with the marriage.  It will outline similar provisions to a prenuptial agreement.


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