Prenuptial Agreements

27-October-2015 Family Law By Simone Green

Prenuptials and Agreements for Property and Maintenance

Planning to marry or move in? Separating and have joint property? Changes in your marital situations often require new financial arrangements. Prenuptial
agreements, often called a prenup, are an increasingly common method to clarify a couple’s intention in regard to their property and finances. While
the media often focuses on the prenuptial agreement of a celebrity, they are now more accepted as a practical and legally binding way of recognising
the different roles played by partners. Prenuptials can help identify what each person is bringing into the relationship.

Many factors have helped increase the popularity of prenups. These include people marrying later (so having more assets), higher divorce rates, remarrying
after divorces and both partners having careers and income. A similar arrangement, not based on a marriage, was until 2009 called a cohabitation agreement*.
This was often used by defacto couples.

Property agreements can be made at any time. However, after a divorce has been obtained, a limitation period of one year applies during which you can apply
for property settlement orders from the court. In deciding upon a fair division of property, the court will consider both financial and non-financial
factors, and the spouses’ respective contributions to the family.

What makes a Prenuptial Agreement legal in Australia?

In order for agreements, including prenuptials, to be legally binding in Australia, the Family Law Act requires that they are signed by each person. Plus
each person must have received independent legal and financial advice before signing.

Prenuptials should be seen a bit like legal wills or life insurance. They are a practical way of planning ahead for circumstances that many people may
prefer not to discuss. Failure to address issues like a will or life insurance can cause more pain than avoiding them.

Streeterlaw Sydney’s specialist conveyancing expertise, combined with our experience in advising on likely outcomes, helps ensure you receive an efficient
finalisation of your property matters. We are also able to prepare binding financial agreements.

Explore Streeterlaw Sydney Lawyers blogsite for marriage and divorce advice, family law and understanding your relationship rights.

Cohabitation Agreements

*The term ‘cohabitation agreement’ was the name which applied to a de facto agreement under the previous Property (Relationships) Act 1984. This was the
NSW legislation that regulated the co-habitation agreements before they were joined into the Family Law Act effective 1st March 2009.

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