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How long before a wedding can I get a pre-nup?

A pre-nup is a term that is often used in U.S. television shows, but under Ontario law the correct term is actually “domestic contract,” which covers both pre-marriage contracts and cohabitation agreements.

If you are at the stage where you are planning to get married (whether you are formally engaged or not), a pre-marriage contract is a good idea. There are no rules around how soon you can make one; the problems come when you leave it too late.

If a few days before the wedding you spring it on your partner that you want a domestic contact – or worse, hand them one the night before – he or she will likely resist signing, for fear that the contract is one-sided and unfair.

Not only is this a bad way to start a marriage, it’s also unwise from a legal perspective: Because even if you manage to conclude the contract in time for the looming nuptials, your partner may later claim that it was signed under duress, or that they did not know what they were signing. If a court agrees, then it can later invalidate the whole domestic contract, by granting an order to set it aside.

Learn how to talk to your partner about pre-nups here: How To Have The Pre-Nup Conversation Without Jeopardizing Your Relationship.

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