Sarah Bevan Family Lawyers comprises a team of experienced specialist Australian Family Lawyers who provide an extensive range of high-quality legal services within the area of family law including domestic and international family and divorce law.
Under the umbrella of family law are the rules concerning relationships including de facto and married couples. When a relationship is initiated between a couple it is essential that each partner is aware of the legal implications of being in that relationship and the legal effects in the event that relationship ends.
The fact that a person is in a relationship means that their property, assets and financial interests may be subject to laws which determine the rights to those interests during and after the relationship. The laws and rules that apply depend on the type of relationship a person is in.
Where a couple intends to marry, an agreement or contract can be entered into which establishes how the assets and various interests of each party to the relationship is to be dealt with during the marriage as well as in the event of separation and divorce. This is commonly known as a pre-nuptial agreement, however, the appropriate legal term that is used in Australia is ‘financial agreement’. A financial agreement may be entered into before, during or at the end of a marriage, or de facto relationship.
The purpose of entering into a financial agreement is to avoid determining the rights of each party to their own property and finance in legal negotiations or court following separation or divorce by establishing those rights in the agreement. Disputes over property and finance in court or even negotiations after separation or divorce are often extremely difficult, emotionally and financially, on everyone involved.
Sarah Bevan Family Lawyers maintain extensive experience in providing personalised financial agreements for couples whether in a de facto relationship, contemplating marriage, already married, contemplating divorce or in the process of divorcing.
Where a financial agreement is entered into when a couple is contemplating marriage, the agreement is recognised under Section 90B of the Family Law Act 1975. Such an agreement can cover financial settlement (including superannuation entitlements) as well as financial support of one partner by the other and any other incidental issues.
For a financial agreement to be binding at law, both parties must have received independent legal advice before signing the agreement; a signed statement from their respective legal practitioners stating that the relevant advice was provided and both must have signed the agreement following this. The statements providing that legal advice was provided to each party by their lawyer must also be provided to the other party or their legal representative.
By having a binding financial agreement in place you and your partner are able, to an extent, to determine your own rights about the way in which financial interests are dealt with during and if necessary after, marriage. It is normally far easier, less stressful and more economical to determine these matters before marriage rather than during separation or divorce.
There are many legal and financial considerations that need to be taken into account when entering into marriage. For example, it is necessary to decide on how the income of each partner may be used and distributed or how interests may be used in the event one partner unexpectedly comes into a significant personal interest, financial or otherwise.
It is also necessary to consider which property and assets a person may wish to protect from a later potential claim such as income, property and assets, money in the bank, superannuation, inheritances or even miscellaneous interests such as gambling wins. By having a legally binding financial agreement in place each party to a marriage may be reassured the other party is in the relationship for the right reasons.
There are countless factors that can be taken into account when considering the possible legal effects of two people entering into marriage and possibilities in the event that marriage fails. Each partner brings to that marriage many different interests and aspects from their own life, whether it is property or finance, personal assets, business interests, children or future children, debts, income, future wealth or inheritance or anything else. A personalised binding financial agreement which takes into account and provides a way in which all of these considerations are to be dealt with is necessary for every couple contemplating marriage.
For this reason, it is in the best interests of any person who is considering marriage to create certainty and if need be, establish protection around their personal interests.
For further information on Section 90B Agreements, please contact our offices on (02) 9633 1088. We have offices conveniently located in Sydney, Surry Hills, Crows Nest & Parramatta or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.