Young love — so exciting and yet so elusive. When the glow wears off, make sure you’re holding the high card. Before you sign the wedding register, ink a marriage contract that protects your legal rights. These couples may be rethinking their motives after their marital unions ended badly.
1. 50% of (We Do Mean) Everything
A Cambodian couple split their assets down the middle, literally. Moeun Sarim’s family took the divorce settlement at face value and sawed the couple’s house in half. The pieces were carted off and reassembled elsewhere. Former wife Vat Navi admitted it was odd, but said it was what her ex-spouse wanted. Wonder what they did with the half bath?
2. Bad Timing for Him
Robert Lucas is wishing he won the Nobel Prize in 1996 instead of a year earlier. Lucas divorced in 1989. A clause in the couple’s divorce settlement required he share half of any winnings with his ex-wife. Just as the clause was about the expire, he won the Nobel Prize in economics. His wife’s take was a none-too-shabby half million.
3. A Hairy Settlement
Black Keys singer Dan Auerbach got a get out of jail card by giving up his prize possession, a lock of musician Bob Dylan’s hair (photo courtesy jambase.com), when his wife Gonis decided she was gone. She got the Toyota Highlander, $5 million and one of their two matrimonial homes.
4. I Kid You Not
Dr. Lorne Batista asked for his kidney back when his wife filed for divorce. In the alternate, the wronged Long Island spouse requested $1.5 million in compensation for donating the organ to his allegedly cheating ex in 2001. Oddly enough, he’s not the first to try to harvest an organ during divorce.
5. I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream
An Indian stockbroker got tired of screaming at his wife for spending their savings on ice cream. He got the divorce. She got a $2.50 a month ice cream allowance.
6. Hit the Wrong Chord
Rhythm and blues great Marvin Gaye kissed his marriage goodbye with a farewell album Here, My Dear (album cover by Michael Bryan). Gaye’s ex Anna Gordy, record producer and sister of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, was expecting $305,000 in advances and $295,000 in royalties from the two-disc set. What she got instead was a rambling rundown of their 12-year relationship set to music. The lyrics include such lines as “I don’t think I’ll have any regrets, baby” and “Is that enough to keep you happy?”, composed after a day in divorce court. The 1978 release failed miserably but has since been praised by music critics as one of Gaye’s greatest works.
7. That’s Kinda’ Dumb
Incurable idiocy is grounds for divorce in Mississippi. The condition must develop during the marriage. Sounds like a no brainer to us. But not as crazy as the Magnolia State’s other grounds, which include insanity. To protect the innocent, no names shall be used.
Using Your Domestic Smarts
Obviously, you’ll want to avoid these couples’ embarrassing post-nuptial faux pas. Making a prenuptial agreement outlines how your assets will be split after you marry. Once the ceremony is over, the agreement is your domestic contract until death or divorce do you part.
Kids and Matrimonial Home Exceptions
Almost anything, including spousal support, can go into a prenuptial (before you marry) agreement or marriage contract in Ontario. Exceptions are child custody or parental time, formerly called child access, and how to divide matrimonial homes. Without one, you are bound by Ontario’s Family Law Act.
That’s So Icky
Dividing up your assets seems so unromantic. Yet 38% of Canadian couples separate or divorce. Having your own financial interests at heart can be the best offence against a legal divorce settlement you didn’t anticipate.
Why You Need a Marriage Contract
Before you write a marriage contract, think about your goals.
- Preserving real estate or investments you owned before you married.
- Protecting financial assets you expect to grow in value.
- Keeping family gifts not meant for your legally married partner.
- Preventing company pensions or property you own from being divided.
- Having enough to live on if the relationship ends.
- Limiting spousal support payments.
- Reducing income tax obligations after divorce.
- Divvying up property or money you acquire while married.
- Divesting your spouse’s interest in family-owned businesses.
Write a Marriage Agreement in Ontario
Legally binding marriage contracts must be in writing in Ontario. You will need two witnesses when you sign. An Axess Law virtual commissioner of oath can witness your e-signature online and ensure you signed voluntarily. Independent legal advice is recommended to ensure you understand the nature and effect of your marital agreement. Happy marriage or (sorry to say it) divorce!
Make a Legally Valid Marriage Contract
Axess Law’s Ontario family lawyers can witness your prenuptial agreement or marriage contract online or in person. Licensed commissioners are available 7 days a week, day or evening, via online video call. Dial 1-877-522-9377 or in Greater Toronto 647-479-0118 or use our online booking form to make a convenient video conference appointment. You can meet in person with a commissioner at our Ottawa, Toronto, Scarborough, Vaughan, Etobicoke, Mississauga Winston Churchill or Mississauga Heartland law offices.
Click here to learn more about Axess Law’s family law services.