The Covid-19 pandemic is creating daily challenges for everyone. We remain open to assist you 24/7 and have systems in place to attend to your Family Law matter during this time.
If you are facing the breakdown of a relationship at this time you may be concerned that no one is available to help you. We are open and accepting instructions in relation to all Family Law matters. You may be dealing with domestic violence or you may want to get the ball rolling. We have processes in place to draft initial correspondence to the other party so that the settlement process can be started, and some matters we may even be able to settle by consent.
What is a financial agreement?
A financial agreement is an agreement between parties to a marriage or de facto relationship about their financial arrangements. Sometimes people refer to these agreements as ‘prenuptial agreements’, but the correct legal term is ‘financial agreements’.
What can a financial agreement cover?
Financial agreements can cover anything in relation to your finances, assets, property (including the transfer or sale of a property), superannuation, spousal maintenance and child maintenance.
A financial agreement cannot deal with any non-financial matters relating to children, for example, arrangements to spend time with your child.
When can I enter into a financial agreement?
A financial agreement can be made before, during or after a marriage or de facto relationship.
Who can make a financial agreement?
Married spouses, same-sex partners and people in a de facto relationship can all enter into a financial agreement.
When is a financial agreement legally binding?
To make the agreement valid, the parties need to:
- receive independent legal and financial advice; and
- sign the agreement.
There is an additional requirement for people in a de facto relationship, which is that they must be ordinarily resident in any of the following states when the financial agreement is made: New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory or Norfolk Island.
Why should I bother?
Parties enter financial agreements for several reasons.
If the agreement is made before moving in together or getting married or during the relationship, it is usually because the parties want to clearly understand what will happen to their assets and finances if the relationship breaks down.
If the agreement is made after the relationship, it is usually as an alternative to litigation. In these circumstances, parties want certainty and peace of mind and don’t want to have a Judge decide on their financial circumstance.
A financial agreement can also save you time and money instead of taking the matter to court. They can be less stressful and easier to manage than litigation by avoiding protracted negotiation and allowing you to get on with your life.
Fourtree Lawyers can advise you whether you should have a financial agreement, your financial exposure without one and your options. If you are in a relationship, you should consider a financial agreement, and especially more so if you own property or other assets, or you are likely to receive an inheritance or have a good earning capacity.
How is a financial agreement made?
Once the financial agreement has been negotiated, the parties have received independent legal and financial advice and they sign the agreement, it is legally binding.
The parties can also file ‘consent orders’ at court. This means the parties agree to the terms of the financial agreement and want the court to validate, or formalise the agreement. Once consent orders are made, the financial agreement is in effect a court order, making it the same as the outcome of a family law trial.
My partner isn’t complying with our financial agreement, what can I do?
Fourtree Lawyers can negotiate with your partner to enforce the agreement. If your partner will not comply, we can advise you on your options, which may include issuing a court proceeding.
I want to get rid of my financial agreement, what can I do?
If you and your partner both agree, you can change or invalidate (set aside) your financial agreement.
If your partner does not agree, you can apply to the court to invalidate your agreement for several reasons.
Examples of reasons to invalidate a financial agreement include:
- one party entered the agreement intending to defraud the other, or by influencing or misleading them;
- if the agreement was entered into by fraud- that is, one party failed to disclose their assets or circumstances during negotiations;
- the agreement was entered into in order to escape creditors;
- the agreement has become impractical to enforce (for example, if the agreement provides that one party is granted ownership of a property and that property was sold);
- a material change in the parties’ circumstances means that a child will suffer hardship (for example, if a child of a relationship suffers an injury and one party requires more money to care for the child);
- if there is a problem with superannuation (for example, the agreement provides for a superannuation interest that cannot be divided);
- the agreement is not enforceable based on contract law (for example, due to duress); or
- the Court finds that it would not be fair, in the circumstances of the case, to allow the agreement to stand.
Why Fourtree Lawyers?
Financial agreements are technical legal documents and you should seek proper advice about your options before you consider one. The agreement should be negotiated and drafted by an experienced lawyer. Fourtree Lawyers are here to help you in an efficient and effective manner with any type of financial agreement, no matter your financial circumstances. We can approach your partner with proposed terms, negotiate for you, provide you with clear and concise advice and formalize the agreement.
We can also refer you to our wide network of financial advisors for tailored financial advice on the terms of the agreement.
If the agreement is negotiated after the breakdown of your relationship and agreed terms cannot be reached, Fourtree Lawyers will give you practical advice about your options, including whether you should take the matter to court.
If you have signed a financial agreement that you are unsure about or if you wish to enter into a financial agreement, contact Fourtree Lawyers for a consultation with one of our experienced Family Law Lawyers.
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My partner and I will always be thankful that we chose Fourtree Lawyers. Kevin represented us throughout a Children’s Court case. He showed nothing less than a professional outlook on the case, yet also was very compassionate. Without the help of Kevin, we wouldn’t of had the best possible outcome. We will forever be appreciative of what Kevin has done for our family. Affordable prices with great results. If we ever need legal advice, or representation, our first call will be Fourtree lawyers.
I just wanted to say thank you for all of the help and support you have given me throughout my family law settlement. It was the worst year of my life, but you helped me feel confident that it was all going to work out OK in the end. You calmed down the heated negotiations and managed to get a fair outcome without going to court. The kids are all happy and settled in a safe new environment, and I can get on with my new future.
After three long years, my international family law matter was going nowhere, despite spending tens of thousands of dollars with an overseas law firm. I engaged Kevin Vierboom from Fourtree Lawyers to help me in bringing this nightmare to an end when it became apparent I was going to lose my job. He reviewed my case, distilled the issues and escalated the negotiations. I am very relieved to say that it’s finally over.
From the first phone conversation Fourtrees gave us the confidence and reassurance that that our matter would be handled with professionalism and an outcome we were hoping for. The submissions given outlined how we felt and defended our matter perfectly. We couldn’t be happier with the care and comfort we received. We would recommend Fourtrees to anyone needing legal advice & will use Fourtrees for all and any of our future legal matters.