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What should you do if you want a binding financial agreement?

If you want a binding financial agreement, then you will need to discuss the following with your partner beforehand:

• who will work during the relationship?

• is there a plan to have children?

• are there children from previous relationships?

• what happens if either partner can no longer work?

• what happens if a child has a disability or illness requiring significant care?

• what are your retirement goals?

• will assets be joint or separate?

Cameron and Michelle plan for the future

Cameron and Michelle planned a wedding and were looking forward to the big day. Everything was organized except for the financial arrangements for their married life. Cameron had a thriving business and Michelle was the composite professional. Both had saved hard and had decent equity in property and share investment portfolios. They had both reached a level of financial independence long before they met. Although looking forward to married life, they also wanted to protect their property and investments, neither wanted unpleasant surprises and uncertainty if their marriage didn’t work out. Cameron and Michelle carefully considered the different possibilities their future might hold and how they would manage financially. They entered a binding Financial Agreement which provided for their own entitlements and those of any children, ensuring financial hardship and unnecessary legal costs were avoided in their future life.

When will the financial agreement not be binding?

Situations where the agreement may not be binding include:

  • the general laws of contract must be followed,
  • both parties must make full disclosure of their financial situation,
  • parties must not be dishonest or fraudulent in disclosing their financial position,
  • if the procedures set out in the Family Law Act have not been properly followed, or
  • a significant change in the care, welfare and development of a child of the relationship has arisen since the agreement was entered into, which would result in a party suffering hardship if they could not overturn the agreement.