What’s really at stake when considering a Prenup / Cohab Agreement

What’s really at stake when considering a Prenup / Cohab Agreement

It is a delicate request and can cause some awkward conversations at the dinner table or for a looming wedding day, but it is something that any person contemplating building a life together or getting married should think about.  Similar to not wanting your house to catch on fire, but still having home insurance and smoke detectors, a prenuptial agreement is protection against something that neither party would want to occur.

There are however both pros and cons to signing a cohabitation or prenuptial agreement.


  • It can protect the inheritance rights of children and possibly grandchildren from a previous marriage;
  • It can ensure that a business or personal corporation protects you retaining the sole interest in the company and allows you to ensure that the business is not divided and under the possible control or involvement of your former spouse;
  • Should one party have more debts than the other, a prenuptial agreement can ensure that the spouse that does not have personal debt will not need to assume responsibility for the debt’s repayment;
  • A prenuptial agreement can ensure that a spouse who earns more or has the potential of earning more will not need to worry about being responsible for paying spousal support because an income differential exists; and
  • Parties who own substantial assets at marriage can protect their financial interests, and the increases in value for property which they either acquired on their own or from the hard work of their families.  The accumulation of property often involves supporting family members and with these strong opinions about protecting what they helped to financially build.


  • A party may be asked to waive his or her right to inherit their spouse’s estate on their death, which under Alberta law they are otherwise entitled by nature of their marriage;
  • A prenuptial agreement may suggest that a party who contributed to their spouse’s business or incorporated business and whom helped grow the business development would not be entitled to any benefit; and
  • A spousal support provision in a cohabitation or prenuptial agreement may make it impossible for a lower earning spouse to sustain a certain lifestyle after the common law relationship or marriage is over.

The conversation at the kitchen table would be very one-sided if there were not reasons why people may not want a cohabitation or prenuptial agreement.  It is Family Central Law Office’s suggestion that instead of refusing to obtain a cohab / pre-nup, these “cons” be used as guideposts for people to think about what they may not want in an agreement or what may not be beneficial for their specific situation.   

By carefully crafting the content of your cohabitation or prenuptial agreement we believe you can strike the right balance and confirm certainty for your family law matter. Contact us today for your free 20-30 minute consultation on your matter by calling our office at: 587-392-7970 or emailing info@familycentrallaw.com
Calgary Family Central Law Firm

Trusted Counsel for Calgary Family Law Matters

Our firm believes in access to legal services for everyone, and serves the Calgary area, as well as regularly traveling for court appearances in Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat, and Lethbridge.

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