The need for prenuptial agreements in stepfamilies
Entering into a second marriage when one or both parties have children from a previous relationship or marriage can be challenging. Children typically take months or even years to accept stepparents. Some Ontario parents choose to address all other family law issues in a prenuptial agreement to allow them to pay full attention to building parent-child relationships in the new dynamics.
Some key issues typically need consideration when creating a stepfamily — some of which spouses can include in a prenuptial agreement. When it comes to living arrangements, some choose to avoid the residence remaining ‘my house’ or ‘your house,’ and instead find a new place that will be their house. It may also create an environment in which children will not treat the new parent as an intruder in the home that they shared with their biological parent.
A prenuptial agreement can also include arrangements on how to handle finances. Will they put money together or keep it separate? Many couples find that a shared account to manage household and family expenses helps to create unity. This does not prevent each spouse from maintaining a personal account. This may be vital for commitments related to alimony, child support or other financial obligations that are not linked to the new marriage.
Every stepfamily in Ontario has unique dynamics, and the support and guidance of an experienced family law lawyer can be a great help in drafting a prenuptial agreement. Such an agreement can include many other issues, and, contrary to popular belief, it does not only serve as protection in the event of a divorce. Couples can even include agreements about how they will raise the children and who will discipline them. With years of qualified experience, a lawyer can help a couple to draft an agreement that may limit contention throughout the marriage. Furthermore, he or she can ensure the final document is legal and will hold up in court in the unfortunate event of a divorce.