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Getting Married? Now What!

Did you know - Valentine's Day is one of the most popular days to get engaged.

Planning for a wedding is exciting. There are lots of details to consider. How big a wedding, where it will be held, who to invite and of course...the dress! These are all part of the excitement although it can become a daunting task. One detail you must consider is the legal implications of your impending marriage.

How many people ever think about that?

Admittedly, it is not romantic, and it is somewhat cynical to consider what could possible happen with your property should your marriage fail. Young couples just starting out and without accumulated assets are reasonably protected by the provisions of The Family Law Act which set out the property "regime" for residents of Ontario and provide for the "equalization" of property on marriage breakdown or upon death.

However, many today marry later in life when careers have been established and assets accumulated. Some have been previously married and have children. Some enter marriage with inheritances, monetary gifts from family or are beneficiaries of a family trust.

A consultation with an experience family law lawyer is a must. For many, a "co-habitation agreement" which becomes a "marriage contract" upon marriage may be appropriate. Followers of Hollywood celebrities are familiar with such contracts known as "pre-nups" or prenuptial agreements. Beware! California law is substantially different from the law in Ontario.

So my advise to you is to invest an hour or so of a lawyer's time for you to understand the implications of marriage on your property and on separation should marriage breakdown occur in the future.

Warning! If you are unmarried and already have a will, it becomes invalid when you marry UNLESS you make a will in contemplation of your impending marriage. And one more thing! Consider making Wills and Powers of Attorney for each of you which are a must if you have children.

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