Many British Columbia couples sign a marriage contract before their nuptials. If you signed such an agreement, perhaps things have changed, and now some clauses may appear problematic or less appropriate to your current situation.

“Can I change my marriage contract?” is a common question. The answer is usually yes, but you must do it correctly to ensure your agreement remains legally valid and protects both sides’ rights.

What Is a Marriage Agreement?

A marriage agreement is a legal contract couples often sign before marrying, though they can be entered into after marriage. These agreements typically revolve around a community of property, a partnership of acquests, and other financial aspects of marriage. 

A marriage contract may cover:

  • Property division, such as what happens to major assets if the marriage falls apart and which assets go to each spouse.
  • Spousal support, namely, how much support either spouse collects in case of a separation. You can also choose to forego spousal support in your agreement.
  • Arrangements after either spouse’s death, such as who collects assets if one of you passes.
  • Debts, including which ones stay separate and which are the responsibility of both partners.
  • Practical issues like handling money during the marriage or who stays in the family home during divorce proceedings if the marriage breaks down.

Why Would You Change Your Marriage Agreement?

It’s a good idea to review your marriage contract from time to time to ensure it still reflects your situation and preferences. If you signed your agreement many years ago, it may no longer suit you or your spouse. You may choose to amend your marriage agreement if:

  • You collected an inheritance, gift, or settlement and want to ensure it is excluded from shared property.
  • You and/or your spouse opened a business and want to ensure it remains a separate asset or outline what happens to the business if you divorce.
  • You added a child to your family, or your children are now adults, so you need to adjust housing arrangements in case of a divorce.
  • You left the workforce to focus on raising a family or caring for your disabled spouse and need to ensure your marriage contract protects you financially. 
  • You aren’t interested in divorce right now, but you’re uncertain about the future of your marriage.

Keeping your marriage contract up to date can save a lot of stress and conflict if your marriage ends by preventing disagreements over housing, spousal support, and other key issues that may turn divorces into long, draining battles.

How Can You Change Your Marriage Contract?

The answer to “Can I change my marriage contract?” is “Yes, but please ensure your agreement stays enforceable.” Your present marriage agreement may have a clause outlining rules about future changes. For example, it may specify that both spouses must witness and sign any changes. 

You and your spouse should agree on whatever changes you prepare to make in your marriage contract. If you’re at odds over certain clauses, consider mediation to help you reach a compromise. A BC family lawyer can guide you through amending your marriage contract to ensure it stays legally binding. Changing your marriage contract is often a good thing to do as circumstances typically change over time.

Thinking of Amending Your Marriage Contract in British Columbia? Call Pier Law & Mediation 

If you think your marriage agreement needs amendments and wonder, “Can I change my marriage contract, and how do I do it right?” contact us at Pier Law & Mediation. 

Our legal team will review your current marriage agreement and proposed changes, advise you on making amendments, and ensure your marriage contract is clear and enforceable.

Call (604) 359-3159 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation. 

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