How to Get Out of a Marriage (Prenuptial) Agreement
Occasionally, after a separation, one spouse may be less than happy with an existing marriage agreement. One party might feel as if they were not sufficiently informed about the consequences of the agreement or they felt coerced into signing it. Or, perhaps, circumstances changed since you first agreed to the prenuptial agreement you had entered into 30 years ago. You could simply be feeling that it is unfair or no longer makes sense.
Thomas and Associates has a team of highly rated marriage agreement lawyers in Vancouver and we know what steps are needed in British Columbia to challenge a marriage agreement and ensure a fair outcome for both spouses.
Our team is experienced and understand that circumstances change. We are here to help you take the required steps to modify or get out of a marriage agreement that is not fair for you.
What is a Prenuptial (Marriage) Agreement?
A Prenuptial Agreement, also known as a Marriage Agreement, is a type of contract created by two parties before entering into marriage. The goal of a prenuptial agreement is to ensure that YOU keep what’s YOURS and that your spouse keeps what is theirs. This contract could outline each party’s responsibilities and property rights for the duration of the marriage. More commonly, prenuptial agreements outline terms and conditions associated with dividing up financial assets and responsibilities if the marriage were to dissolve.
Generally, a “prenup” contains a list of each party’s individual assets, some indication of which individual assets will remain the property of each spouse in the event of a divorce, guidelines on how property acquired during the marriage will be divided in a divorce, responsibility for debts acquired before and during the marriage, and some agreements outline the spousal support that will be payable (also known as alimony), if the marriage should end.
Why You May Want To Get Out of a Marriage (Prenuptial) Agreement?
Circumstances often change, and the terms set at the time you signed your marriage agreement may not be relevant or fair in the following years. Factors that will generally be considered are:
- Whether the financial circumstances of either spouse have drastically changed since the date you signed the agreement;
- The length of the marriage;
- The needs of each spouse;
- The date when the property or assets in question were acquired or disposed of;
- Whether the property or assets in question were an inheritance or gift to one party;
Required Steps you Need to Take to Get Out of a Marriage (Prenuptial) Agreement:
After separation, to challenge a marriage agreement, you must first file it with the court. Then you may apply to the Supreme Court to set aside a part or the whole agreement and to replace it with an order from the court. What you will need to show the court is circumstances of oppression, intimidation, inadequate financial disclosure or other vulnerabilities. Specifically, the legislation states that you need one of the following grounds:
- Duress: a party was under duress and did not freely enter into the agreement when it was negotiated or executed.
- Coercion: a party took improper advantage of the other spouse’s vulnerability, including the other spouse’s ignorance, need or distress.
- Unconscionability: the agreement is obviously and seriously unfair to ta spouse and it would be unconscionable to enforce it.
- False information: a party signed the agreement based on false information provided by the other spouse.
- Lack of Independent Legal Advice: a spouse signed the agreement without independent legal advice. However, this is not determinative as parties can sign these agreements without a lawyer in BC.
- Mistake: a spouse did not fully understand the nature or consequences of the agreement.
- Fraud: a spouse only signed the agreement because the other spouse misrepresented what the agreement was about.
- Failure to make full disclosure: a spouse signed the agreement without full disclosure of significant property and debts, or other information relevant to the negotiation of the agreement.
- Other circumstances that would, under the law, cause all or part of an agreement to be voidable.
A court can vary the terms of an agreement or set aside the entire agreement. If the evidence does not establish one of these defects, then generally the agreement will stand. However, even if none of the above-mentioned circumstances existed, the court may still intervene to preserve fairness. Trust the expert team at Thomas and Associates to help you get the fair settlement you deserve.
Why Choose Thomas & Associates?
At Thomas & Associates we are committed to our clients. We’re not just a team of attorneys, we are problem solvers, and we remain committed to improving our processes and expanding our services to meet the legal demands of the communities we serve.
We’re dedicated to serving and representing each client with the integrity, knowledge, and compassion they deserve. Our ability to understand complex circumstances enables us to handle cases respectfully, and our reputation in the courtroom earns our client’s real results.
When you are getting married, the last thing you want to prepare for is divorce. However, life often takes you in a different direction than you plan, and you end up feeling undervalued or deceived. If you feel like the provisions of your marriage agreement seem unfair, contact our lawyers at Thomas and Associates for the smart way forward.