Prenup Definition

What is the definition of a Prenup?
A prenup is a type of domestic contract under family law that allows a couple that is about to marry to enter into an agreement primarily about how assets and income are to be divided should their relationship end, either by separation or by one of them passing away. The typical issues dealt with are the division of property and spousal support.

The agreement comes into effect on the date of marriage, but it is best to enter into the agreement as soon as possible.

Prenups are permitted in Canada. Several provinces, including Ontario, have statutes that specifically set out the requirements that must be met for such an agreement to be valid. This website offers information about how the law in Canada treats prenuptial agreements, how these agreements work, and the practicalities of entering into such an agreement. Of course, we are always happy to help you prepare a prenup for you. Find out on our website:

1. The advantages of having a prenup.

2. The typical things that are included in a prenup, and things that the law expressly prohibits including in the agreement.

3. The typical items that are included in a prenup, to give you a framework for thinking about your agreement.

4. The typical types of situations when having a prenup is beneficial.

5. Why we believe most couples should have a prenup.

6. Differences between prenuptial agreements in the provinces across Canada, particularly Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta.

7. Answers to common questions I am asked about prenups. If the answer to your question is not there, please feel free to contact us by telephone or email, for a free legal consultation.

8. What needs to be done to ensure that a prenup is legally valid.

9. The possibilities and perils of entering into a post nuptial agreement after you are already married.

10. The process involved in entering into a prenuptial agreement.

What are the various legal terms for a prenuptial agreement?
Each province and territory in Canada has its own legal term for a prenuptial agreement.

In Ontario, if you are getting married or already married, a prenup is called a marriage contract. If you and your partner are living together in a common law relationship, a prenup is called a cohabitation agreement. Together, these two types of agreement, along with separation agreements, are called domestic contracts.

In British Columbia, a prenup is known as a marriage agreement.

In Alberta, a prenup is called a pre-nuptial contract. A post nup is called a marriage contract. For a common law relationship, the agreement is called a cohabitation contract.

In Saskatchewan, a prenup is known as an interspousal contract.

In Manitoba, for an unmarried couple, a prenup is known as a cohabitation agreement. For a couple planning to get married, a prenup is known as a marriage contract, marital agreement, or pre-nuptial agreement. The general term for these types of agreements, including separation agreements, is a spousal agreement.

In New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut, a prenup is called a marriage contract.

You’re Invited to Call or E-Mail!

If you’re considering a prenuptial agreement — or have already made your decision — you’re invited to call or email us. We’ll explain for free how you can protect your assets and plan your estate. You can call us toll-free at (800) 837-0460 or email us using our contact form here. We can help you anywhere in Ontario.


  1. How does it work if I want to buy a home with my boyfriend but if I bring in the down deposit. In the event we split I need to make sure that deposit money would come back to only me.

    • @Jill – I’d need to know more about your situation. However, a prenup will normally be needed to protect you. For instance, if you are buying a home together, putting both your names on the home, living in it, and then getting married, you would certainly get no credit for making the down payment on the home. However, you could enter into a prenup that just deals with your home, and states that if the home is sold or if you separate, then you get your down payment off the top before the remaining proceeds of sale are shared.

  2. thanks for the info!
    it is important to emphasize that a prenup is a very delicate contract and should be constructed by professional otherwise it may not hold ground in case of divorce.

  3. Can I make the conditions of a prenup? Assuming that he wull also sign it, that is. For example, with regard to fidelity? I would like to get married, but believe that they have to be as willing to commit as I am. If they are cheating, I believe that they should not reap any benefits of my input..vise versa. I work hard. He should too. Life happens. I want to be protected. Period. I have old school values and want that legal. Can a prenup do this to protect me?

    • prenuplawyer says

      @Terri – Sort of. Clauses about fidelity or infidelity are not enforceable. So you cannot state that specifically. However, you can enter into an agreement that protects your assets and where he protects his assets.

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