When You Run Out Of Time, Consider a Standstill Agreement
When to consider the Standstill Agreement. With many individuals getting married later in life, after having established their careers and accumulated some wealth on their own, it is not uncommon for couples to want to enter into a Marriage Contract.
Marriage Contracts can outline how you want to deal with property and support issues in the event of a breakdown of your marriage by, for example, providing that there will be no spousal support payable or by excluding certain assets from division of property.
Marriage Contracts are not mandatory but they can provide couples with peace of mind when entering into a marriage if, for example, one party, or both, have been previously married and divorced and understand the emotional and financial stress that the separation process can create.
When entering into a Marriage Contract, it is very important that both parties exchange full and frank financial disclosure, obtain independent legal advice and participate in the process voluntarily and free of any duress or undue influence.
Sometimes parties are still negotiating the terms of the Marriage Contract as the wedding date nears. Marriage Contracts can be signed at any time during the marriage and it is not necessary that they are signed before the wedding. Therefore, if parties are still negotiating and don’t want to rush into signing (which could later affect the validity and enforceability of an Agreement), they can enter into a Standstill Agreement. Otherwise, they can choose to continue negotiations afterwards without necessarily entering into a Standstill Agreement.
A Standstill Agreement lets parties agree that they will proceed with the marriage, the wedding, etc. and continue their negotiations afterward, in good faith. The parties can include in a Standstill that until a Marriage Contract is signed, or the Standstill expires, the provisions of the Family Law Act and Divorce Act in relation to property and support rights upon the breakdown of a relationship, do not apply.
Once the festivities are over, the parties can resume negotiations and hopefully come to an agreement on all terms without feeling rushed or pressured into signing a Marriage Contract before walking down the aisle.