Sorley & Still
Barristers and Solicitors

15064 Yonge Street
Aurora, ON L4G 1M2
Telephone: 905-726-9956
Facsimile: 905-726-9957

& By Appointment Only
2 - 450 Hume Street
Collingwood, ON L9Y 1W6
Telephone: 705-994-4616

General Inquiry Email:

Family Law - Domestic Contracts

The Family Law Act (Ontario) extends broad contractual rights to people in a domestic relationship to order their affairs:

  • before they are married or while they are married (a “Marriage Contract”),
  • before they are living together or while they are living together in a common law relationship (a “Cohabitation Agreement”) , or
  • upon the breakdown of their domestic relationship (a “Separation Agreement”),

by entering into a domestic contract in which they agree on their respective rights and obligations in connection with such matters as:

  • the ownership in or division of property,
  • support obligations,
  • the right to direct the education and moral training of their children, and
  • any other matter in the settlement of their affairs.

The right to custody of or access to children is not the proper subject matter of a Marriage Contract or a Cohabitation Agreement, but may be addressed in a Separation Agreement.

The enforceability of these domestic contracts – that is the party’s certainty that the agreed to terms and conditions will be upheld by a Court if challenged – is a very real concern.

Parties who enter into domestic contracts should ensure that they and their spouse (or future spouse):

  • receive qualified, independent legal advice throughout the negotiation and finalization of the domestic contract,
  • have adequate time to review the domestic contract with their lawyer and to negotiate required amendments to the domestic contract,
  • receive, and give, full disclosure to the other of their current significant assets, debts or other liabilities,
  • understand the nature or consequences of the domestic contract,
  • understand their rights and obligations under the domestic contract,
  • acknowledges that the terms of the domestic contract are fair and reasonable,
  • acknowledge that neither of them is subject to any duress, coercion or undue influence,
  • are entering into the domestic contract freely and voluntarily

Failure to comply with these requirements could give rise to a successful application to set aside a domestic contract, in whole or in part, under the Family Law Act (Ontario).

Let Sorley & Still Help You: Sorley & Still’s lawyers can help you negotiate and finalize domestic contracts which protect your interests, financial or otherwise.

DISCLAIMER: The materials on this web site are provided for general informational purposes, only, and not for the purpose of providing legal advice and should not, therefore, be relied upon. There are no representations or warranties made as to the accuracy or substantive adequacy of any information provided in this web site. The information on this web site is subject to legislative change and changes in judicial interpretation and may be incomplete or no longer current. Use of and access to this web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the web site do not create a lawyer-client relationship between Sorley & Still and the user. THE USER SHOULD CONTACT HIS OR HER LAWYER TO OBTAIN ADVICE WITH RESPECT TO ANY SPECIFIC ISSUE OR PROBLEM.