Prenuptial agreements and financial security

At the commencement of a relationship, or anytime during its course, you may wish to put something in place with your partner that offers you financial protection if the relationship breaks down. A financial agreement is one way to approach these arrangements. We can provide advice about the best ways to protect your financial assets from future challenges.

Whether you are starting a relationship, or have been in a relationship for some time, you may have concerns about your financial security, certain assets or other financial matters which may be affected, particularly if the relationship should end unexpectedly.

It is possible under the Family Law Act to make a binding financial agreement with your partner before, during or after a marriage. Often known as a prenuptial agreement, the aim of a binding financial agreement is to offer some peace of mind to both parties without them having to go to court.

The agreement can be as limited or as broad as you wish, covering issues such as:

Financial settlement (including superannuation) in the event that the marriage breaks down

Financial maintenance of one spouse by another after marriage

Financial maintenance of children after marriage

The protection of certain assets owned by a party prior to the relationship

The protection of prospective inheritances of each party

Any other incidental issues that may affect your relationship

Maintenance arrangements for either partner or children during the relationship

The agreement can be as limited or as broad as you wish, covering issues such as:

However, bear in mind that making a financial agreement is just one way to go about protecting your financial assets and/or deciding financial maintenance, and not necessarily the best way. Current uncertainty around the law regarding binding financial agreements means that they may not provide the peace of mind that you are seeking. Binding financial agreements are highly technical documents and there have been many examples where courts have set aside (dismissed) part or all of an agreement.

An alternative approach available in many cases is where both parties in the relationship agree on consent orders to be made by the court. Consent orders can provide long-term protection in the event that your relationship breaks down and your former partner disputes the division of property.

Another alternative can be for both parties to work together to come up with a schedule of respective assets that gives a clear picture of the initial financial contributions each person has made to the relationship. This can be useful for assessing the contributions made during the course of a relationship, in the event that a future dispute arises about the division of property.

It is a complicated area of law and every situation is unique. Stacks will be able to advise you on the best ways to protect your financial assets in the event that your relationship ends. We understand that this may be a sensitive issue and will help you through the process with respect, confidentiality and professionalism.

Need advice about a prenuptial or financial agreement? call us today

Commonly asked questions about pre nuptial or financial agreements:

What kinds of things should be included in a parenting plan?

Your plan should encompass the following matters.

  • Who the child lives with

  • Who the child spends time with and how they communicate with the other parent

  • What happens on important days such as Christmas, Easter, school holidays, the children’s birthdays, father’s day, mother’s day, the mother’s birthday and the father’s birthday

  • What time the child will spend with other people such as grandparents, siblings, step parents, or any other people who are important in your child’s life

  • The decision-making process for important decisions concerning the child (eg schooling, health)

  • Financial arrangements for the children

  • The process for resolving any disputes about the arrangements in your plan

Do we need a lawyer to make a parenting plan?

No. You can make or change a parenting plan at any time without the need for a lawyer. Seeking legal advice may be beneficial to ensure that you have covered all of the necessary considerations in your plan, and that the best interests of your children have been prioritised.

What is my ex-partner fails to stick to the plan we agreed on?

In the case of a dispute you can apply to the court for parenting orders. The informal parenting plan you made with your ex-partner will be taken into consideration by the court (as long as it is in writing, has been signed by both parents and was made without threats or intimidation). The parenting orders made by the court are binding and legally enforceable, giving you legal recourse should your ex-partner fail to abide by the orders in the future.

Will we have to attend court if we want to turn our parenting plan into consent orders?

No. This is largely an administrative process by the court and you will not have to be present. As long as the court does not have any concerns about your agreement, it will seal your consent orders and each parent will receive a copy. Should either party breach the consent orders in the future, the other party will have legal recourse.