The Paper Chase
Gay Couples Getting Married- Protect Yourself
Hello everyone! My name is Alistair Vigier and I am taking over the “The Paper Chase” column for Pink Play Mags. I will be writing about family law, and I will be direct and share with you what you need to know. None of my posts are legal advice, and you should always speak to a family lawyer if you need professional assistance.
What Is A Marriage Agreement?
Regardless of if you are a gay couple, or a straight couple, it’s important to protect yourself from risk. Half of people getting married these days get divorced. People hate talking about marriage agreements (called prenup in the USA) since it’s not romantic. The last thing someone wants to do when planning a wedding is to start planning about possibly getting divorced.
Marriage agreements don’t need to be about “50/50” or “if we get divorced, you get nothing.” Instead, it can be about simple matters. Examples of things to discuss are:
- Spousal support
- Child custody (who gets the child)
- Child support (who pays for the child)
- Would it go to court or mediation/arbitration (explained later)
- Which court would be used (very important if the couple are from different countries)
Read more: Scales of Pride
Many gay couples are choosing to adopt, some adoption laws can also go into marriage agreements.
I had the pleasure of attending a same-sex wedding of one of my best friends between Dragisa Cekerevac and Dustin Miller. My friend moved to Victoria BC from Alberta and fell in love with Victoria. His now husband came here on a trip from Germany (where he is a doctor) and decided he wanted to live in Victoria BC. Both Dustin and Dragisa said that Victoria is a very open-minded place, and they feel safe there.
Many Gay Couples Want to Get Married
As the CEO of a divorce law firm, I don’t get invited to many weddings. Perhaps couples getting married don’t like the fact that I speak to around 15 people about divorce every workday. Going to weddings is great, because I hopefully get to see the other 50% of people that don’t get divorced. I need to see more love in my life. It’s very tiring seeing so much hate.
I spoke to many gay couples at the wedding, and it seemed like almost all of them were planning to get married soon. I decided to put together a list of three things gay couples should think about before getting married.
1. Getting A “Prenup”
The reality is that 50% of married couples are getting divorced. As part of a prenup, same-sex couples need to consider financial support (spousal support.) Family law court is very expensive, and you can expect to spend $10,000+ on family court. It’s much better to spend $2500 on getting a prenup done. The agreement should not be one sided, saying that one spouse will get everything. Instead it should be a fair agreement that clearly lays out the process if a separation were to happen. It is also possible to add that mediation/arbitration would be used instead of family court. Arbitration is a private process and is often much faster than court.
2. Improve Your Communication
Communication is the key to the health of any relationship or marriage. Getting married is just the first day of being married. People put a lot of effort into their weddings and they need to consider putting in effort into their marriage. This is true regardless of how long you have been married. After you get married, you will continue to grow and change as you always have done. Your hobbies and habits will also change over time. Make sure you find things to do in common, but keep in mind you don’t have to do everything together. It’s healthy and normal to have individual hobbies.
3. Grow Together as A Couple
Getting married is just the beginning of your life together. You will want to think about what you want your lives to look like in a year, five years, and twenty years. You may have different goals for each area of your life (family, financial, travel plans, and social…etc.). Make sure you agree on a general direction in life, keeping in mind that things are likely to change.
Alistair Vigier is the CEO of ClearWay Law, a family law firm in Ottawa and Toronto. You can connect with him on his Linkedin page.
About the Author
Alistair Vigier is the CEO of ClearWay Law, a family law firm (www.clearwaylaw.com) with law offices in multiple cities in Canada. In 2017 he won a 30 under 30 award. When not working, Alistair enjoys writing for multiple media including: Canadian Lawyer, Vancouver Sun, Business in Vancouver, Daily Hive, and BC Business.