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June is upon us. I understand from Modern Bride magazine that June is the most popular month for weddings. Unfortunately, it is not the most popular month for marriage contracts. But why? These two should go hand in hand but most couples still marry without a marriage contract.

WHY? I find it is because people are not aware of the fact that marriage is a legal relationship. If they are, most do not want to think about its implications. The Family Law Act applies as soon as you say “I do”.

You should be saying “I don’t” unless you know the answers to the following questions:
1. What is your net worth?
2. What does your fiancé(e) earn?
3. What is his or her net worth?
4. If one of you owns a home where you plan to reside once married, is that person prepared to share its value in the event of a future separation?
5. Is common law marriage the same as legal marriage?

At least 8 months before the wedding, take the time to either read up on the above or, better yet, arrange a consultation with a family law specialist. The lawyer will walk you through how the law applies to your particular situation. Only then can you decide whether or not you think a marriage contract would be a good idea in your unique circumstances. Seeing a lawyer might not be the most romantic part of the wedding planning, but it could end up being the most useful. You won’t ever regret the hour or so you spend learning about family law. It could make the difference between an amicable and a litigated separation down the road.

You might need a marriage contract if:
1. One of you owns a home
2. There are children from a previous relationship
3. There are financial obligations to a former spouse
4. You have assets you want to protect from sharing upon marriage breakdown
5. It is a second marriage

Get legal advice. Then go and choose the dress, the rings and the band.

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