The ability to enter into a Financial Agreement arose in 2000 with amendments to the Family Law Act.
From that time, parties have been able to enter into a Financial Agreement before, during or after a marriage. From 2009, de facto couples were also able to enter into a Financial Agreement, before, during or after the end of a de facto relationship.
These Agreements enable parties to deal with property settlement and spousal maintenance outside the Court’s jurisdiction, making the Agreements a totally private arrangement.
What people know commonly as “Pre-Nuptial Agreements” are actually Financial Agreements which are entered into before commencement of a de facto relationship or before parties get married.
Because Financial Agreements completely remove the jurisdiction of the Family or Federal Magistrates Court, the Family Law Act has imposed strict requirements as to how these documents are to be drafted and what they can and cannot contain. Further there are strict requirements about obtaining independent legal advice before signing a Financial Agreement.
Here at Attwood Marshall we can work with you to prepare a Financial Agreement which appropriately protects your assets, no matter the stage of your relationship. We can also offer the assistance of our Wills and Estate Department to ensure that your Estate Planning needs are taken care of and are in line with the terms of any Financial Agreement which you propose to enter into.
We are also happy to liaise and work with your other professional advisers such as Accountants or Financial Planners to ensure that your assets are protected.
If a Financial Agreement has been drafted by your former spouse or partner’s Solicitor then we can assist by reviewing the draft Agreement, advising you on any recommended amendments to the documents, providing you with the required legal advice and finally executing the Financial Agreement.
Frequently Asked Questions about Financial Agreements
Are they “water tight”?
Unfortunately, we cannot and will not ever guarantee that a Financial Agreement would never be amended or set aside by the Family or Federal Magistrates Court. However, provided that, in general terms :-
– Full financial disclosure has been provided; or
– No pressure or undue influence has been exerted by either party and;
the terms of the Financial Agreement are just and reasonable, the likelihood of a successful challenge to a Financial Agreement is small.
Financial Agreements made prior to entrance into a de facto relationship or prior to marriage require very detailed and serious consideration about the future of the relationship. Agreements which do not appropriately consider circumstances such as the birth of a child or children of the relationship and the possibility of the relationship being of long duration are candidates for being set aside by the Court.
What costs are involved?
Due to the extremely formal nature of Financial Agreements and the detail which they must contain, it is impossible to provide any firm estimate of costs involved in their preparation. However, at our initial consultation with you, we can discuss the likely costs of these Agreements, provided that they are straightforward and reasonably simple.
In relation to costs associated with our simply advising you and assisting in execution of a Financial Agreement drafted by another Solicitor, we can provide you with a fixed fee quotation in that regard. Please contact our office on 07 5536 9777 or email [email protected] to obtain further information.