When we act for you, Leach Legal will help you with every aspect of the prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement process. Our Leach Legal Family Law team has significant experience in handling prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. In Australia, a prenuptial agreement (prenup) is called a Financial Agreement (FA). FA’s are best known for agreeing to a division of financial assets in the event of separation so there’s no need for expensive litigation if the relationship ends.
FA’s are especially relevant when one partner enters a marriage with far more financial assets than the other or if one or both parties are likely to inherit significant assets. FA’s have another, less well-known purpose. This is allowing parties in a broken relationship to agree on the division of their assets without having to apply to the Family Court for Consent Orders.
A critical difference between FA’s and Consent Orders is that FA’s deal only with financial matters, and cannot be used to set out the terms of other issues, such as parenting arrangements.
If you are contemplating a Financial Agreement before marriage, there are two main areas you may consider.
The first is the emotional impact of telling your partner that you’d like them to sign such an agreement. Depending on the dynamics between the two of you, the suggestion itself may be a setback in the relationship. On the other hand, you may feel that resolving uncertainties about future possible financial arrangements may help you both move forward with clear, mutual understanding.
The second area to consider is the legal one. While a Financial Agreement helps minimise the risk of possible future litigation, it cannot provide a guarantee. If something comes to light after a Financial Agreement has been made – for example, if one of the parties had deliberately concealed assets, or was unexpectedly gifted an inheritance – this could provide grounds for the other person to challenge the agreement.
When using a Financial Agreement at the end of a relationship to resolve the division of financial assets, the same consideration needs to be given to legal matters. Both parties must have lawyers, and advice given follows a four-step process:
Identifying your combined assets and liabilities including superannuation (the asset pool).
Assessing contributions of the parties to that asset pool, directly and indirectly.
Taking future needs and other ‘life’ factors of each party into consideration.
Ensuring that any outcome is ‘just and equitable.’
Once this process is completed, a properly drafted agreement is critical to ensure any Financial Agreement is unlikely to be set aside as a result of a subsequent challenge by the other party.
Typical questions you may have:
I don’t consider myself to be rich, but I have worked very hard for my assets. I want to take my relationship to the next level, but want to protect myself in case things go wrong. Is a Financial Agreement for me?
My wife and I have no children and want an amicable settlement. What would be a better option: Consent Orders or a Financial Agreement?
I signed a Financial Agreement several years ago, and only recently found out that my ex spent a fortune on holidays for him and his girlfriend while we were separated. Could this be the basis of a legal challenge?
If you would like to talk through the pros and cons of a Financial Agreement, Leach Legal offers a free, 15-minute telephone consultation to help clarify key points – call (08) 9486 9733 today.
Our team of experienced, professional, Perth Family Lawyers are here to help with your financial agreement.