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FINANCIAL AGREEMENTS

Family Lawyers

If you are married or in a de facto relationship (which includes same-sex couples), you may enter into a financial agreement when the relationship begins, at any time during the relationship, or after a relationship if it has ended. These agreements are sometimes referred to “pre-nuptial agreements,” but it is important to remember that they can be made at any time and by a couple in any legal relationship.

Making a financial agreement does not have to signal that a relationship will end. A financial agreement is a form of legal safeguard, outlining the wishes of each person in the relationship, regarding their property and assets. If a relationship does unfortunately come to an end, a financial agreement will act as a set of standards and instructions. This can be extremely important, as the end of a relationship is always stressful and emotional. A clear basis for negotiations and decisions can be of great help at such a difficult time. A binding financial agreement can be made without going to court.

To make a financial agreement legally binding can be complex. The requirements of the Family Law Act are strict, but most important is the need to tailor an agreement to the unique wishes of both parties in a relationship. Diamond Conway Family Lawyers have the expertise to assist you in making a financial agreement that reflects the realities of your relationship, while also ensuring that it is legally sound and clear. Diamond Conway’s specialists can also advise you on alternatives to financial agreements, if you are undergoing divorce or separation without one.

The key to making a binding financial agreement is sympathetic attention to detail, and at Diamond Conway Family Law we have a respected record of assisting couples at all stages in their relationships towards beneficial outcomes. The legal team includes an accredited specialist in Family Law, partner Tom Doumanis, and all our staff are highly experienced in the negotiations that go into making financial agreements fair. For advice on any aspect of binding financial agreements, call Diamond Conway Family Lawyers today on 02 9222 8000.

What Makes a Financial Agreement Binding?

For a financial agreement to be legally binding, both parties must receive independent financial and legal advice before the agreement is made, and both parties must sign the agreement.

It is essential that the law clearly recognises that each party has made decided to enter into the agreement independently and in full knowledge of what it involves. If there are any uncertainties or errors, it may be up to the court to make a decision.

Declaring a Financial Agreement Invalid

A financial agreement can be declared invalid by a court if:

  • the agreement was made for the purpose of fraud
  • one party to the agreement has behaved unconscionably in relation to any matter covered in the agreement (for example, disposing of property without the other party’s consent)
  • the agreement cannot be enforced because circumstances have changed significantly since it was made and signed (for example, the couple has had a child or children, or ownership of property and assets has been rearranged)
  • one party will suffer hardship if the agreement is enforced

It is essential to make a binding financial agreement that reflects the full reality of your relationship. If you have made a financial agreement and your material circumstances change, you should update your agreement. Diamond Conway can provide advice on the most effective ways to do this.

What is Covered in a Binding Financial Agreement

Binding financial agreements can be an effective way of combining into one place many diverse issues that a divorcing or separating couple can face.

Agreements can cover:

  • property settlement and division of assets, such as family homes, investments, shares, superannuation, cars, furniture, heirlooms, valuables
  • spousal maintenance and child support, to ensure that neither party in a divorce or separation will suffer hardship if they are caring for a child
  • details and special responsibilities in a couple’s particular situation

Consent Orders

If you do not make a binding financial agreement with your spouse or partner, and your relationship comes to an end, it is still possible to make legal arrangements for some aspects of your property in a similar way, using consent orders.

A consent order is an agreement reached and signed by both parties in a relationship, at the time of separation or divorce, before or during court proceedings. The court will use a consent order to determine decisions on the division of property and assets. A consent order is, in effect, a way for a separating or divorcing couple to draft a court order themselves, which a judge will then enforce.

What is Covered by Consent Orders?

Consent orders have the same effect as orders made by the court alone, so they are legally binding, but they are not as comprehensive as financial agreements. Consent orders offer a way to resolve specific issues quickly and with minimal court intervention. Consent orders can govern:

  • the sale or transfer of property – homes, furniture, valuables and other items
  • the division of superannuation
  • spousal maintenance

Consent orders may be helpful if a couple agree on certain aspects of their divorce or separation, while other aspects require more negotiation. Diamond Conway Family Lawyers can offer expert advice on how and when consent orders may be effective.

Diamond Conway – Experts in Binding Financial Agreements & Consent Orders

It is never easy to imagine divorce or separation, but if a relationship does come to an end, having a detailed and binding financial agreement can save both parties a huge amount of emotional pain and stress. Diamond Conway offers the diligent and highly knowledgeable legal service that can lead to the wide-ranging and secure agreement a couple needs, at any stage in a relationship. Diamond Conway partner Tom Doumanis is an accredited specialist in Family Law, and our staff brings together expertise in all areas of legal knowledge, from family to finance, that combine to make an agreement effective.

For the best legal advice for consent orders and binding financial agreements, call Diamond Conway today on 02 9222 8000.

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DIAMOND CONWAY LAWYERS
Level 7, John Hunter Building
9 Hunter Street
Sydney NSW 2000

Phone: +61 2 9222 8000
Fax: +61 2 9222 8008
Email: familylaw@diamondconway.com.au
DX: 707 Sydney