Asset protection and financial agreements (aka ‘Binding Financial Agreements’, ‘BFAs’ or ‘pre-nups’ as they are often referred to by the public) are Agreements which set out what is to happen in relation to property settlement and/or spousal maintenance in the event of a relationship breakdown.
Couples, including those who intend to be married; are currently married; intend to be in a de facto relationship (including same sex partners); are currently in a de facto relationship; are separated; or even divorced are all able to enter into Financial Agreements.
A Financial Agreement basically acts as an insurance policy. It can give you piece of mind so that you know that if something does go wrong and there is a separation, both parties are clear on what is to happen. We find that when parties enter into Financial Agreements, it can actually strengthen a relationship because it reduces the stress on the parties (and the relationship) by the parties knowing that they both have a clear understanding of what is to happen if there is a separation.
A Financial Agreement is not about not being unfair, rather it is about reducing the potential for a dispute (which is often the worst, and most costly, part of the separation) later on.
A Financial Agreement can protect your business, company(s) and Trusts(s) from a claim from your ex-partner. It can also be an important tool in estate and succession planning and protecting wealth of different generations of the family who would not necessarily be a party to the relationship.
Those embarking on a relationship, especially when there is a familial wealth; issues of potential future inheritances; blended families; second relationships; or where there is a disparity between the parties’ financial circumstances should consider a Financial Agreement. Even once you are in a relationship it is still possible to enter into a Financial Agreement.
It is also possible to enter into a Financial Agreement once the relationship has come to an end, or where the parties have divorced. There are some circumstances when this may be appropriate and other circumstances in which we would advise against finalising matters with a Financial Agreement rather than Consent Orders.
A Financial Agreement is the only way to oust the Court’s ability to award spousal maintenance. Therefor depending on your circumstances, we can advise you on whether you should be entering into a Financial Agreement when the separation has already occurred as part of your overall method of formalising the agreement about financial matters.
There are a number of requirements which are necessary in order for the Financial Agreement to be binding. One of these requirements is that you and your partner must obtain specific independent legal advice prior to signing the Agreement.
We can assist you with any questions you may have in relation to Financial Agreements.
If you would like further information in relation to Financial Agreements please call or email us us to make an appointment with one of our lawyers.
Examples of just some of the questions we can help you answer are:
- What are Binding Financial Agreements and what do they do?
- Can de facto/same sex couples enter into Binding Financial Agreements? How will these protect me?
- I don’t have any property in my own name, but I do receive money from a family trust, do I need to worry about entering into a Binding Financial Agreement to ensure my partner can’t make a claim against me if we separate?
- I am already in a relationship, is it too late to enter into a Binding Financial Agreement?
- I am already separated. Is it too late to enter into a Binding Financial Agreement?
- What is spouse maintenance and how can I protect myself from a claim for spousal maintenance?
- My partner and I entered into a Binding Financial Agreement. We split up and are now back together, do I need a new Agreement?
- I signed a Binding Financial Agreement with my former partner, we separated and I have since learnt that he/she was not truthful about assets in his/her name. Is there anything I can do?
- My partner and I entered into a Binding Financial Agreement at the beginning of our relationship when we did not intend to get married. We are now getting married. Do we need a new Agreement?
- My Financial Agreement got set aside by the Court. What recourse do I have?