A financial agreement or a binding financial agreement is a highly valued legal document and demands maximum protection. As the governing laws and rules are complicated, it is always recommended to get help from financial agreement lawyers. This article discusses all the essential facts about the financial agreement and the common questions that clients primarily ask professional consultants.
What Do We Mean By Financial Agreement?
A binding financial agreement or BFA, as it is commonly known, is a legally binding document that has the following documents.
- This document is prepared by the family lawyers who do the job as per your instructions.
- The primary objective of BFA is to control the property interests predictably and straightforwardly during a separation event.
- Distribution of property, superannuation, debts, spousal maintenance and other financial matters may be included in the BFA.
- It may be prepared before or during the marriage or de facto relationship or after the separation.
Do You Need A Financial Agreement At The Time Of Your Marriage?
There is no direct answer to this question. A few common causes why you may want a binding financial agreement before the event of marriage are as follows.
- You are planning to bring essential assets into the marriage.
- You own a specific asset to which you want to give protection.
- You may receive a considerable inheritance at some instance of your wedding.
- You want a valid assurance that you will get the possible outcomes if your marriage fails.
- You have children to look after amidst a case of a failed marriage.
What Are The Critical Differences Between Consent Orders And A BFA?
The two effective options separating couples may have to make their financial agreement and property legally binding are consent orders and binding financial agreement. There are several crucial differences between the two.
- The difference in content inclusion: While you can include arrangements for your children in the consent orders, BFAs apply to financial and property matters only.
- The difference in their preparation time: BFAs can be prepared before or during the marriage or de facto relationship or after the separation. But, consent orders can be prepared only after the break.
- The necessity for legal advice is not the same: Though we recommend that you may seek legal advice for consent orders, it is not mandatory. But, for BFA, both the partners need to consult with financial lawyers based in Perth or anywhere else in Australia. Failure to receive independent legal advice makes the BFA invalid.
- The difference in lodgement: Lawyers lodge the consent orders at the Family Court of Perth, WA. It will then check if the proposed financial orders and property are ‘just and equitable. But BFAs are not lodged at the Family Court because it is nothing but a legally binding agreement between two separated partners.
What Is Covered Under BFA?
We had already mentioned that a binding financial agreement is prepared to fulfil the purpose of financial matters and property matters. According to the context of family law, a BFA covers debts, superannuation, property distribution, spousal maintenance and other economic issues.
Can You Draft The Binding Financial Agreement Yourself?
Generally, the clients are not advised to draft their binding financial agreements. Because it may lead to non-inclusion of essential details, or the way of drafting may lead to potential misinterpretation. You may also mistakenly forget an important document to submit. It means that your binding financial agreement will fail to satisfy its requirements to be treated as legally binding.
You Will Need A Professional Attorney For This Process
The reasons why you should get a lawyer for this process are as follows.
- You will want your BFA to remain legally binding. Then, both of you two should get advice from financial lawyers independently. This advice will be written in a letter.
- In that letter, the lawyer will mention all the benefits and shortcomings of entering into the BFA and how it will affect your legal rights.
- Each party’s lawyer should sign an independent legal advice certificate, and the certificate should be attached to the back of the financial agreement.
Two Of You Cannot Have The Same Lawyer Provide The Independent Legal Advice Certificate Or Legal Advice
The term is ‘independent legal advice. So, you and your partner cannot have the same person giving you the advice about the BFA or the certificate.
You Cannot Include Children Care And Support In A Binding Financial Agreement
BFAs apply to only financial and property matters. You can include children’s issues in consent orders.
What Are The Circumstances In Which A Binding Financial Agreement May Get Invalid?
A BFA can get invalid. But you should not get anxious about hearing it because it only occurs on limited occasions. These occasions include:
- Fraudulence: If any material non-disclosure of assets, your application might be considered fraudulence. In that case, your binding financial agreement may be deemed invalid.
- Duress: Duress means that one is being forced to do something. It does not imply that one party causes the other one to prepare the binding financial agreement. Instead, sometimes circumstances occur in which one of them may feel pressured to put down the signature.
- Unconscionable conduct: It is also called unconscionable conduct or unconscionable dealing in Australia. It means that the agreement was prepared unconscionably, i.e. one of the parties has used their powerful position to make the other party give signing to the binding financial agreement. This type of objection arises when the party is forced to sign against their free will.
Whom To Go For Divorce-Related Matters?
For BFA, you should seek help from financial lawyers, but they are not suitable for the divorce itself. You have to look for family lawyers Perth, WA.
Where Can You Find Family Lawyers In Perth?
Family Lawyers Perth is a famous lawyer consultancy firm that can give you the necessary contacts of well-known family lawyers in the Perth area.