It may not seem very romantic to discuss with your soon-to-be spouse what should happen to your respective assets if you decide to separate, but it can be a good idea.
If you put your decisions on paper in the form of a contract, this is known as a prenuptial agreement.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, prenuptial agreements have only been legally binding in Australia since 2000, when changes were made to the Family Law Act to ensure they were included.
The Family Law Courts state that any financial settlements, support or "incidental issues" should be covered in your prenuptial agreement. You and your spouse must both sign the contract in order for it to be legally binding, and you must also receive legal and financial advice before doing so.
There will always be people who don't see the point in organising a prenuptial agreement, but there are many benefits to reaching an agreement about your assets before you walk down the aisle. For example, it should make legal proceedings in the event of your separation run a whole lot more smoothly.
It may also "improve communication with your former partner and be better able to resolve disputes in the future," claims the Family Law Courts.
If you're not sure whether or not to organise a prenuptial agreement, you might want to consider the following:
- Do you or your partner have any outstanding debts? A prenuptial agreement can ensure you won't be responsible for covering any bills racked up by your significant other if and when you opt to separate.
- Do you or your partner have any children from previous relationships? By making a financial agreement before you get married, you can make sure no one is left unprovided for if you get a divorce.
- Do you own real estate, all or some of a business, or have a substantial list of assets to your name? A prenuptial agreement is the best way to stop these from becoming objects that you and your spouse argue over if your marriage fails.
If you don't have a prenuptial agreement and decide it's time for you and your spouse to go your separate ways, a family lawyer can help you with divorce financial settlements and property settlement agreements.
Craddock Murray Neumann is a divorce law firm with years of experience in family law divorce. Please get in touch with us today.