Financial agreements are a common document that lawyers prepare for clients to divide assets either after they separate or before they enter into a long-term relationship.
Financial agreements made before a marriage or a long-term relationship are often called ‘pre-nuptial agreements’ and set out how the couple agree to divide assets if they separate in the future.
Financial agreements enable couples to come to a mutual, legally-binding agreement without going to court. These are often used when the couple’s assets are a little more complex.
Under the Family Law Act 1975, married or de facto couples (including same sex couples) can make a financial agreement stipulating how their various assets will be divided between them as well as how ongoing spousal maintenance and other issues will be dealt with. These agreements can be made before, during or at the end of a relationship. Each person needs to have their own lawyer when preparing a financial agreement.
Unlike consent orders, financial agreements are not filed with the court. This means that once the terms of a financial agreement has been agreed and signed by both parties, neither party can ask the Family Court to determine how their finances and assets are to be divided.
Financial agreements are a relatively inexpensive way to protect your assets and avoid arguments and court proceedings following separation.
Financial agreements are presently the only option available to couples wishing to achieve future certainty about financial arrangements if and when they separate. Many couples consider financial agreements from the perspective that they are the most the law permits in terms of an ‘insurance policy’ against the usual impacts of separation. While they are not ‘iron clad’, they are the best chance of reducing the scope for uncertainty and strain that would be faced if there were no agreement at all.
Financial agreements do not deal with parenting arrangements or child support. Clients must prepare a parenting agreement and child support agreement for these issues.
All Jones Mitchell lawyers are experts in negotiating and preparing financial agreements. We pride ourselves on our knowledge of family law and the needs of separating couples and children to ensure a financial agreement is as water-tight as possible.