Financial Agreements (also known as Pre-nuptial, Cohabitation and/or Separation Agreements) can be made before, during or after a marriage or de facto relationship, and can deal with how property will be divided, the splitting of superannuation (except for de facto couples in Western Australia), and spousal maintenance upon separation.
It is, therefore, possible to plan in advance, what will happen to your property if you separate by using a Financial Agreement. It is also possible, following separation, to finalise a property settlement with a Financial Agreement, as an alternative to seeking orders from the Court. There are many reasons why you may wish to do this, and we can tell you whether it is to your advantage to do so.
Savvy couples know that planning for separation is not an admission that the relationship will fail. Instead, they are choosing to avoid the risk of expensive and time-consuming litigation, if the worst should happen. Relationship breakdown is an ever-increasing fact of modern life. Statistically, more marriages and long-term relationships fail than survive.
Financial Agreements can be especially attractive in the following situations:
- Protection of the assets of one party where there is a substantial disparity in wealth;
- To preserve one party’s assets for the purpose of future inheritance;
- In long-established family farms or businesses where the intention is to preserve the asset for future generations;
- On second (or subsequent) marriages or relationships, where both parties seek to protect previously acquired assets.
Both parties require Certificates of Independent Legal Advice before signing a Financial Agreement.
Financial Agreements can be set aside (cancelled) in some circumstances, in particular, where inadequate provision has been made for a child or children of the parties, or there has been non-disclosure of a material fact (for example, one spouse didn’t let the other know about a house they owned). Accordingly, it is extremely important that each party receives comprehensive, independent legal advice prior to signing the proposed agreement, to ensure it will be valid and enforceable.
We can prepare, review and advise you on Financial Agreements. Ask us whether a Financial Agreement could be suitable for you.
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For practical advice about what you should do next, please call to arrange a no-obligation initial consultation.