I would highly recommend Monique. She provided clear and simple explanations in my marriage agreement with my new bride, as well as in my Will and estate planning. Her ideas on every issue was very helpful; all being presented in a personal manner.
~Brian – Vancouver
Marriage and Cohabitation Agreements
Marriage and cohabitation agreements can be an important part of good planning, especially for blended families, as well as for common law couples who are now covered by the same property division laws as married couples. What an agreement will cover depends on the situation and stage of life of the couple – an agreement that makes sense for a couple who each have grown children and their own nest egg will not make sense for a young couple about to start a family together.
A marriage or cohabitation agreement can talk about
- What property is separate to each person, and what is shared
- How a home or other property bought together will be handled
- How inheritances, businesses and other specific items will be dealt with
- Which debts are to be each person’s responsibility and which are to be shared
- How to deal with their estates so that each person meets their responsibility to their new spouse and to their children
One person in a couple can hire me to draft an agreement or a proposal for an agreement, in which case that person will be my client and the other spouse will have their own lawyer to make sure the agreement is fair for both people. If I am doing Wills for both people in the couple, one of them will go to a lawyer to get independent legal advice on the agreement.
There are many people who use assisted reproduction: heterosexual couples who are experiencing fertility difficulties, gay and lesbian couples who want to have children, and single people who want to start a family. Assisted reproduction includes procedures like donor insemination (even if at home), in vitro fertilization (IVF), use of sperm, egg and embryo donors, and surrogacy.
Most people using assisted reproduction do not need legal services, for example because they are using the sperm and egg from the couple themselves so there is no question about who are the legal parents. Where the law comes into play is when the person or people who are intended to be the parents are not the genetic parents, or not the only genetic parents, or did not carry the child during pregnancy – for example where sperm from a donor is used, or where a surrogate carries and gives birth to a child for a couple.
BC’s new Family Law Act comes a long way to clearing up the questions about who is a parent when assisted reproduction, meaning any form of conception other than sexual intercourse, is used. But there are still situations, especially where known donors or surrogacy is used, where it will either be desirable or necessary to have written agreements before conception and parentage declarations after a child is born.