Asset Protection
Financial Agreements (pre-nuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements)

"When you buy a new home, you don't expect it to burn down. But you know this is a risk. So you take out insurance, to protect yourself - just in case. Similarly, when you enter into a relationship, you intend it to be lasting. But we know that, despite everyone's best intentions, many relationships do not last. A separation may occur because of something beyond your control. An increasing number of couples are taking out "insurance" in the form of a Financial Agreement, to protect themselves – just in case."

A Financial Agreement is a private contract under the Family Law Act, which provides how assets, liabilities and superannuation will be divided if you separate and whether any maintenance will be paid by you or your partner.

Many people refer to Financial Agreements as "pre-nups" or "pre-nuptial agreements" or sometimes "Binding Financial Agreements".

Financial Agreements can be prepared before you marry or start living with your partner. They can also be done while you and your partner are already together.

If you plan to marry or start living with your partner, it might be helpful for you and your partner to consider how your property would be divided if you separate in the future. We can help you in your discussions with your partner and assist you to reach an agreement about these issues. We will give you detailed advice so that you fully understand the legal implications of an agreement.

Once you reach an agreement we can formalise it as a Financial Agreement. There are strict requirements for Financial Agreements to be legally binding. We are very experienced in negotiating and preparing Financial Agreements to the highest standard. You benefit from our experience by getting the best protection.

More and more people are using Financial Agreements to protect their assets and wealth and to avoid costly and stressful disputes if they separate in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you and your partner can enter into a Financial Agreement which provides how your assets, liabilities and superannuation will be divided if you separate. These Financial Agreements are sometimes referred to as Pre-nuptial Agreements, Cohabitation Agreements, Binding Financial Agreements or BFAs. A Financial Agreement can provide for you to keep the assets you had at the beginning of your relationship if you and your partner later separate.

Our family lawyers can advise you about the law, discuss your options and prepare a Financial Agreement for you. It is a legal requirement that your partner also obtains their own independent legal advice before entering into the Financial Agreement.

Our family lawyers assist people with Financial Agreements in a range of circumstances. A Financial Agreement may be suitable if:

  • You want to protect the assets you had before the relationship
  • You want to protect an inheritance that you have received or a future inheritance
  • You own a business and are concerned about keeping the business intact if you and your partner or spouse separate
  • You have children from a previous relationship and want to protect your assets for them if you separate
  • Your income is much higher than your partner's income
  • Your partner has come into the relationship with significant debts
  • Your parents have given you money or assets
  • You are giving up your job to have children
  • You care for an aged parent or a disabled child
  • You want to avoid a costly and stressful argument about property and finances if you and your partner separate.

Yes, since 2001 it has been possible for people to enter into binding prenuptial agreements. Under the Family Law Act, these agreements are called 'Financial Agreements'. If you and your partner enter into a Financial Agreement and later separate, your assets will be divided as set out in your Financial Agreement. However, for the Financial Agreement to be binding, it must meet strict legal requirements, including a requirement that each party obtains their own independent legal advice.

No, it is not too late to enter into a Financial Agreement. Financial Agreements (sometimes called 'prenuptial agreements') can be entered into before marriage, during marriage or even after a marriage ends.

Yes, since March 2009 it has been possible for de facto couples to enter into Financial Agreements. You can enter into a Financial Agreement before you start living together, while you are living together or after you separate.

No. The law relating to Financial Agreements is complex. In our experience, the 'one size fits all' Financial Agreements available on the internet do not provide people with the outcomes and protections they want or need. Pro-forma Agreements require substantial re-drafting, and it is more cost effective for us to prepare the Financial Agreement from the start rather than to try and make a pro-forma Agreement 'fit' your circumstances.

Our Financial Agreements are prepared by experienced and skilled family lawyers who will tailor a Financial Agreement to your specific circumstances and needs.

Financial Agreements can have a significant impact on your financial future. It is important that they are prepared properly and that you are fully advised about their content and effect. Going with a cheap option for a Financial Agreement may save you money now, but in the long run it could end up not giving you the outcome you expect and cost you dearly.

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