Amendments made to the Family Law Act in 2001 and the Family Court Act in 2002 now mean that financial agreements can be entered into by parties in or contemplating a relationship. This means that the jurisdiction of the Family Court to alter property interests of those parties on separation will be ousted to the extent that it is covered in the agreement. Agreements can be simple or complex, and can seek to cover the whole of the financial affairs of the parties or only part of them.
There is no need for registration or approval of the agreement by the Court. However, for the agreement to be binding both parties must obtain independent legal advice before it is signed, and must obtain a certificate from a lawyer confirming that the advice has been given.
Once made, financial agreements can only be altered by making a new agreement, or terminated by making a written agreement known as a 'termination agreement'.
There are many situations where such agreements may be appropriate e.g:
- Subsequent marriages or relationships
- Prior accumulation of assets
- Preservation of family businesses
- Protection of inherited assets
- Avoid Court imposed decisions.
O'Sullivan Davies has invested significant time and expertise in developing services for our clients and their advisors in this developing area of the law.