Some years ago the Federal Government amended the Family Law Act to allow people to enter into binding Pre Nuptial Agreements. Following the 2007 amendments to the Family Law Act, married, unmarried and same sex couples can also now all enter into both pre-marital (or pre-cohabitation) Agreements as well as Binding Settlement Agreements upon the breakdown of the relationship. If one of these Agreements is in place, there is no jurisdiction to take the matter to Court.
Whilst it is good that parties can enter into Agreements that allow them to make their own arrangements these Agreements are not simple of their nature. The legislation requires that various formalities must be met and in addition, each party must have independent legal advice and each party’s solicitor must certify that they have advised their client in relation to their obligations under the proposed Financial Agreement. The long and short of all of this is that Financial Agreements (whether they be prior to the relationship or following the breakdown of the relationship) are complicated Agreements and cannot simply be drawn up on the home computer in the hope that it will bind the pair of you. You will also need to bear in mind that the Courts scrutinise such Agreements closely (in the event that one or other of the parties subsequently wishes to get out of the Agreement) and any holes in the Agreement may be exploited in a contested Court Hearing.
Our office has lengthy experience in preparing such Agreements and we would suggest that you contact Laurie Cavill at our office should you require advice or assistance in relation to a proposed Financial Agreement.