Financial Agreements Same Sex Relationships, on 9 December 2017, same sex marriage became legal across Australia allowing same sex couples the same right to marry previously only afforded to heterosexual couples. In legal terms, marriage is a status between two people, which attaches certain rights, and responsibilities during and after the event of the marriage. These rights and responsibilities have a significant legal effect, which requires the provision of expert advice to any couple considering marriage.
Now that the ability to marry is afforded to both heterosexual and same sex couples, it is essential that any couple contemplating marriage is aware of the implications of becoming married, and protects their interests through expert legal advice and services.
Sarah Bevan Family Lawyers is comprised of a team of specialist Australian Family Lawyers who provide an extensive range of high-quality legal services within the area of family law including both domestic and international family and divorce law. Our family law experts are able to draft and implement a comprehensive financial agreement for any couple at any stage in their relationship, including contemplating or already married.
There are a number of issues particular to same sex couples that require expert legal assistance. This includes the issue of parental rights for male couples who have a surrogate child, as neither of the couple will become recognised parents until formal legal steps are taken.
Furthermore, due to technological advancements allowing new possibilities for same sex couples to become parents, there are still various legal uncertainties, which require the expertise of a specialist family lawyer to ensure clients best interests are protected.
When a couple becomes married it is essential that each partner is aware of the legal implications of being in that marriage and the legal effects in the event that marriage comes to an end.
Where a couple intends to marry, an agreement or contract can be entered into which establishes how the assets and interests of each party to the relationship is to be dealt with during the marriage as well as in the event the of separation and divorce. This is commonly known as a pre-nuptial agreement, binding financial agreement, however, the appropriate legal term used in Australia is ‘financial agreement‘. A financial agreement may be entered into before, during or at the end of a marriage.
The purpose of entering into a financial agreement is to avoid determining the rights of each party to their own property and finance in court by establishing those rights in the agreement. Disputes over property and finance in court or even mediation are often extremely difficult both emotionally and financially for everyone involved.
Where a financial agreement is entered into when a couple is contemplating marriage, the agreement is recognised under Section 90B of the Family Law Act 1975. Where a couple is already married, an agreement may be drafted which is recognised under Section 90C.
Such an agreement can cover financial settlement (including superannuation entitlements) as well as financial support of one spouse by the other and any other incidental issues.
For a financial agreement to be binding at law, both parties must have received independent legal and financial advice before signing the agreement; a signed statement from each parties’ legal practitioner stating that the relevant advice was provided and both parties must have signed the agreement following this. The statements providing that their lawyer provided legal and financial advice to each party must also be provided to the other party or their legal representative.
By having a binding financial agreement in place, you and your partner are able (to an extent) to create your own rules concerning the way in which financial interests are dealt with during, and if necessary, after marriage. It is normally far easier, less stressful and more economical to determine these matters before marriage rather than at the time of separation or divorce.
There are many legal and financial considerations that need to be taken into account when entering into marriage. For example, it is necessary to decide on how the income of each partner may be used and distributed or how interests may be used in the event one partner unexpectedly comes into an inheritance or significant asset.
It is also necessary to consider which property a person may wish to protect from a later potential claim such as income, assets, money in the bank, superannuation, inheritances or even gambling wins. By having a legally binding financial agreement in place each party to a marriage may be reassured the other party is in the relationship for the right reasons.
There are countless factors that can be taken into account when considering the possible legal effects of two people entering into marriage and in the event that marriage fails. Each partner brings to that marriage many different interests and aspects from their own life, whether it is property or finance, personal assets, business interests, children or future children, debts, income, future wealth or inheritance or anything else. A specialist family lawyer is able to consider every necessary aspect for a particular couple contemplating or already in a marriage and implement a binding financial agreement tailored especially for those two people.
A personalised binding financial agreement, which takes into account and provides a way in which all of these considerations are to be dealt with is essential for every couple contemplating marriage or already married.
To speak to a specialist family lawyer about binding financial agreements or any family law matter contact Sarah Bevan Lawyers on 1300 007 235 or email at email@example.com