Saturday, June 2, 2007

Prenuptial agreement - the view from Canada

The title sums what I think is the key to a successful prenuptial agreement: Negotiating a pre-nup is often a minefield. This article comes from the Toronto Star's advice column:

Q:I've been with my fiancé for five years; we're getting married in July. My problem is the prenuptial agreement: She feels that, after one year of marriage, she should own 30 per cent of my house. I've put my entire savings into it, pay all the bills and do all the maintenance. I've been very gracious to her as far as supporting her. She has a very good job but invests a lot of her pay, whereas my investment is in my home. She states she shouldn't have to help clean or anything, unless she's to be put on the mortgage. We've talked about having a time for the pre-nup to expire, but she feels it should be after one year. I love her and plan on being together forever. I just don't want to lose everything I invested my life in, if things do go sour. Am I wrong for being safe?


AYou're both naturally thinking about your personal security, but it's fairness and practicality that should be the focus here. For example: If she's to own 30 per cent of the house, she should be required to pay 30 per cent of the bills (while she's working and not home raising children). Or, her personal investments should also be divided such that you receive 30 per cent of them after that first year. Pre-nup discussions are a minefield, since they raise all kinds of anxieties. I recommend you discuss this together with a financial/legal adviser before making your decisions

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