MCG Legal    Blog    Pre Relationship Binding Financial Agreements

It is possible for two parties about to enter into a relationship to enter into a legally binding financial agreement which details how “pre-relationship assets” and “matrimonial assets” will be divided in the event of separation.

It is important that both parties entering into the agreement appoint legal representatives who have experience in dealing with binding financial agreements and follow the proper procedures set out in the legislation and previous court cases.  In order for an agreement to be binding it must be signed by all parties, the parties must have received independent legal advice and the court must be satisfied that it would be unjust and inequitable if the agreement were not binding on the parties.

In cases where one of the parties entering into the agreement holds a position of financial dominance over the other party, the financially dominant party should make adequate provision for the weaker party in the agreement, as it is unlikely that the Court would accept one of the parties leaving the relationship with “nothing”.  Parties entering into these agreements should keep sight of the fact that the terms and conditions in the agreement should be “just and equitable” and not result in one of the parties being treated unfairly or unreasonably, as the Courts (if asked) have the power to set aside the agreements as described below.

The parties themselves can terminate the agreement by entering into a new financial agreement terminating the old agreement, or by entering into a written termination agreement to that effect.

The agreement can also be set aside by a Court if it was achieved through deceit, via unconscionable conduct (one of the parties signing cannot read or write English and no interpreter used), or non disclosure of relevant financial information.  The agreement can be declared void, voidable or unenforceable, if it is impracticable, or has been frustrated (e.g. bankruptcy and no property to divide), or there has been a material change in circumstances (e.g. birth of a child).  The Court can also set aside an agreement entered into for the purpose of defeating creditors (e.g. transferring your property to your spouse, to avoid creditors attempting to sell the property for payment of a debt)

Your behaviour after signing the agreement may also impact on the enforceability of the agreement – any oral agreement , or behaving in manner contrary to the terms and conditions described in the agreement has the potential to destabilise its enforceability.

Assuming you have entered into a binding financial agreement and you have now separated, one of the parties will need to sign a “separation declaration” in order for the financial agreement to take effect.  Provided the agreement is enforceable, the assets will be distributed pursuant to the time frames outlined in the agreement.

For more information about pre relationship written fancial agreements, we invite you to call our family lawyers on (07) 5591 2222 or contact us regarding a free 30-minute initial consultation.

Recent Articles

3 Key Issues Businesses Need to be Aware of in 2019

2019 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for businesses. With the decreasing Australian dollar, a slowdown in overall growth and questions over property prices there is no doubt that business leaders need to be on top of all the changes. This includes the upcoming NSW and Federal elections. We’...

Read More

How to Help Your Child Through Your Divorce

Divorce is never easy and occasionally, children can get lost in the process. Parents may end up getting preoccupied with property and financial division, forgetting to check in on their children’s emotional and physical well-being during the process. We recommend all parents focus on ‘what...

Read More

Understanding the Separation Process

As a leading family law practice on the Gold Coast, we know just how difficult the divorce process can be for our clients. When a relationship breaks down, understanding the process will help you to navigate the various stages. At MCG Legal, we have actually been through it ourselves, so have the pe...

Read More

What if You're a Stay-at-Home Mum and Getting Divorced?

It is a sad fact that not all relationships last. For many couples, the assets they accumulate during their relationship represent their entire life’s savings. So you might be asking: is there any position more disadvantageous than that of the stay-at-home mum? Well, don’t despair – th...

Read More

The Best Co-Working Spaces on the Gold Coast

In recent years, the Gold Coast has become an entrepreneurial hub. As any entrepreneur would know, the flexibility associated with working for yourself is much better than the 9-5 grind of being chained to a desk. However, with freedom comes procrastination. Fortunately, there are plenty of great co...

Read More

Professional meet-ups on the Gold Coast

If you believe the old adage “it’s not what you know but who you know” then you will appreciate the importance of meeting like minded people. Professional meetups have been around for quite some time, and people know of them as an excellent way to meet new people with similar interests. Howeve...

Read More

Tips to Remember When Purchasing a New Home

Purchasing property is often the most significant purchases you will ever make. It’s a complex process requiring many decisions. However, there is no need to panic! We help property buyers and sellers on the Gold Coast and throughout Queensland with this process all the time. The following ar...

Read More

Our Top Australia Day Activities

You can’t beat Australia day on the Gold Coast! Cold drinks, great surf and raucous backyard parties. It doesn’t matter where you turn, you’re in for a good time. If you need some fresh ideas on how to spend your Australia day, check out some of our favourite ways to celebrate Aus...

Read More

Nick's Story

Last month we gave you an insight into MCG Legal’s Principal and founder Matt Gill. This month we’re throwing the spotlight on Nick Harrison! Nick arrived at MCG Legal with a unique blend of theoretical and ‘real life’ experience. Before becoming a lawyer, Nick served the community for appr...

Read More

Everything you need to know about DNA & Paternity testing

In Australia, it is estimated that more than 10,000 people each year sign up to find out whether their child is, in fact, biologically theirs. While that number seems large, it isn’t compared to places like the United States, where there are about five times as many paternity tests per head as...

Read More

Updates On E-conveyancing in NSW

Times are changing, and technology is playing a more pivotal role in conveyancing and the property services industry as a whole. As a Gold Coast law firm that helps clients with conveyancing and property work, we wanted to highlight to all our clients in NSW the changes that have recently been made ...

Read More

Why You Need a Strong Advocate on Your Side

Having a strong advocate on your side is critical. In this piece we dive into why it is so important to get you the best possible outcome. You don’t want a piecemeal lawyer who can’t tell you directly what they believe your best course of action. Having clear advice helps put on the path...

Read More