As a small family law firm, we treat our clients as individuals and respect the difficulties of each situation. We provide honest family law advice for married couples, those in de facto relationships or even those looking to enter a new relationship. See what some of our clients have to say:
What is a Binding Financial Agreement?
A binding financial agreement (BFA) is a private contract between two people, including same-sex and heterosexual couples. This legally binding document outlines how their property will be distributed if the marriage or de facto relationship ends.
Under The Family Law Act 1975, married and de facto couples may enter into these types of financial agreements that are binding in court. Although they can be signed anytime, it is more likely to be put in place before a relationship progresses to marriage or living together.
Binding financial agreements allow the parties to deal with the division of their property and belongings amicably without the stress and financial strain of going to family court. These types of pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements can cover key issues such as:
- Joint and personally owned belongings.
- Property division and spousal maintenance.
- Splitting financial resources.
- Expectations of gifts and/or inheritances.
- Any incidental issues or circumstances.
Any binding financial agreement entered into between two parties should be carefully drafted to ensure they include all factors that will reduce the risk of any dispute later.
Want to know more about how our binding financial agreement service can help you?
Why Choose Arcadian Legal for a Financial Agreement?
Help you Understand What Assets to Include
We will help you understand what type of assets to include when drawing up a binding financial agreement and how they impact your situation.
Negotiate with the Other Party on Your Behalf
We will negotiate on your behalf to ensure the binding financial agreement meets your needs now and in the future. If negotiations are unsuccessful, we can represent you in the federal circuit court and family court.
Draft a Court-Enforceable Agreement
We'll identify all the issues that need to be included in the binding financial agreement and draft clauses to cover everything, ensuring the contract is legally binding with the best possible outcome.
When Can You Create a Binding Financial Agreement?
According to the Family Law Act, binding financial agreements can be entered into at different stages of a marriage or de facto relationship, even after separation.
Before the Relationship
When parties enter an agreement and take legal advice before a new relationship, they have peace of mind knowing their property and wealth are protected if the relationship ends.
During the Relationship
Just because you've married or started living with your partner doesn't mean it's too late to complete a binding financial agreement. We can help you protect your assets with a BFA at any stage of your relationship.
After the Relationship
Family law provides a time limit once a relationship breaks. Couples who have divorced have 12 months from the date of the order of divorce to enter into a binding financial agreement.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are binding financial agreements similar to pre-nuptial agreements?
Binding financial agreements is the technical name, while pre-nuptial agreement or prenup is the commonly used term. One key difference is that pre-nuptial agreements are entered into before marriage, while a binding financial agreement can be drawn up before, during or after a relationship fails.
Can the court set aside a binding financial agreement?
Under the Family Law Act, the court can set aside a binding financial agreement in certain circumstances. These include if the agreement between two parties isn´t signed correctly, has been obtained through illegitimate pressure or if there was no legal advice given.
Does a financial agreement have to be lodged in court to be binding? Can it be challenged?
A financial agreement between two parties can be binding without being lodged in court. However, there are circumstances where it can be challenged. For example, if it wasn't drafted correctly or if one party or the other entered the agreement under duress or fraud. It is important to work with an experienced lawyer to ensure these are binding in court if the need arises.
What is the difference between consent orders and binding financial agreements?
There are several differences. Consent orders are filed in court, while a binding financial agreement is a contract between two parties that does not come under court scrutiny. Also, unlike binding financial agreements, consent orders can include parenting arrangements. For a court to approve proposed content orders, it should satisfy that the document is just and equitable for both parties. Once the Registrar approves these consent orders, it becomes binding and is very difficult to overturn.
How can I ensure a financial agreement is binding?
The Family Law Act sets out the requirements for binding financial agreements to be lawful. This includes both parties receiving independent legal advice, a certificate detailing the advice given annexed to the agreement and signed by each person´s legal advisor. Once both parties sign the agreement, it becomes binding. Experienced family lawyers like Arcadian Legal can help you draft a BFA that works in your best interests.
Do binding financial agreements cover same-sex couples?
Yes, they do. The Family Law Act allows for an agreement to be made between couples of the same sex or opposite sex who are about to get married or are already married. It usually has the same inclusions in the event of a relationship ending, including property settlement, spousal maintenance, splitting finances and more. Assistance from an experienced legal practitioner can help you create a BFA for your specific circumstances.