From 9 January 2018, same-sex couples can legally marry in Australia. If you are planning to propose to your partner this year or you are already planning the wedding, these are a few important issues that you should consider:

  • Do you and your partner have the same financial goals? Have you discussed how each of you plan to meet your respective goals when you are married?
  • Have you discussed with your partner what should happen to the assets currently owned by each of you if the relationship breaks down for whatever reason in say 5, 10 or 15 years from now?
  • Have you discussed with your partner what should happen to assets that you accumulate together as opposed to assets that you receive separately such as gifts from family members, inheritances and redundancy payments?
  • Are you planning to have children? Have you discussed surrogacy, adoption or IVF? Have you decided whether one of you might give up your job to care for the children?
  • Have you already entered into a Financial Agreement with your partner whilst you were in a de facto relationship? Does this agreement need to be updated?

At Caroline Counsel Family Lawyers, we understand that the idea of entering into a formal agreement before you get married may be the last thing you want to do or indeed ever thought of doing. When contemplating marriage, these types of agreements used to be called “Pre-Nups” or Pre-Nuptial Agreements and they are now referred to as Financial Agreements. You can enter into a Financial Agreement before during or after a marriage or relationship.

Why should you consider a Financial Agreement?

There are many good reasons why clients should consider having a Financial Agreement including:

  • One or both of you may have assets which you are bringing into the relationship and you want to retain those assets if the relationship breaks down.
  • One or both of your families may have assets which you don’t want to see carved up in a messy relationship bust up.
  • When used properly, a Financial Agreement can be a good way of minimising the angst of what will happen to you and your family should the relationship not last.
  • A Financial Agreement will set out clearly what each of you intends to have happen on separation.  Separation is hard enough so imagine if you could remove the complications of who gets what whilst the relationship is still travelling well.
  • Having a Financial Agreement will avoid the uncertainty associated with litigation and it will avoid the legal costs often associated with going to Court.
  • If one or both of you have children from your first relationship or marriage, then the Agreement, when negotiated to your mutual satisfaction, can afford both of you estate planning options.

There are a range of options about what can be agreed to between same-sex couples who are planning to get married.  These options can be discussed with you and explored with your partner.  Your solutions are then tailor made by the lawyers to suit the agreement you reach.

If you need help with your family law matter, you should contact our office to make an appointment on 9320 3900 or email [email protected]

The information in this blog does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon by you. If you require advice specific to your situation you must contact Caroline Counsel Family Lawyers for legal advice.  The contents of this blog are relevant as at 12 January 2018.  We recommend you obtain specific advice relevant to you and your family’s situation.

By Alex Finemore, Senior Associate

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