The Benefits Of Getting A Binding Financial Agreement Before You Get Married.

Getting married is an exciting time for every couple: it’s a time for planning a joyous event to be shared with your closest family and friends. But thinking about safeguarding your financial future is often overlooked – in fact, some people shun looking at their asset pool and how best to protect it as it can be perceived as not being fully committed to the relationship. However, looking after your individual and joint assets can help you plan for your financial future, no matter if you’re married for the rest of your lives or if things don’t end up being your expected happily ever after.

Ella Hickman from Hickman Family Lawyers in Perth has put together some of the key benefits of getting a binding financial agreement before you get married. Protect Your Wealth Although a Binding Financial Agreement (BFA) can be drawn up at any stage, it’s preferable to draw one up before getting married or entering into a de facto relationship. The earlier, the better. Knowing that in the event of a future marriage breakdown, your financial assets will be protected and divided exactly as you wish them to be, in a manner that is fair to both parties, provides a certain comfort and peace of mind to any couple entering into marriage.

Drawing up a BFA can be quite a complex exercise with each partner requiring to seek independent legal advice from a professional legal practitioner. This is a fundamental condition to ensure the agreement is indeed legally binding. As all marriages come with their own set of circumstances, a BFA should be tailor-made to suit and cover every particular situation. Not only they reduce the level of stress and uncertainty in the event of a separation, it protects your current and future wealth, no matter in which form it may be. It could be property, money, shares, or businesses. On the other hand, you may not want to be responsible for your partner’s debt, should the marriage fail years down the line. Clauses could be drafted into the BFA to ensure that. Protect Your Business Protecting and preserving your own, or perhaps a family business for your children, may be an area of concern, particularly if you have built it up over a number of years prior to meeting your new spouse-to-be.

A BFA can allow you to include or exclude your business from the asset pool in the event of a breakdown in the marriage, other important life events, or draft terms to suit your specific needs and wishes. Protect Any Future Inheritance Future inheritances are often forgotten when drawing up financial agreements and can end up becoming a huge bone of contention in later years. Clauses in the BFA can be inserted to ensure any potential future inheritance, unexpected gift or windfall, end up exactly where you want them to go. Protect Your Superannuation Superannuation is often in the back of many young people’s minds when getting married or entering into a de facto relationship, but can cause huge turmoil if the marriage fails years into the future. This can be another minefield all on its own, requiring careful consideration as well as financial and legal advice to draw up terms that are fair to both parties and also suit your specific situation.

Save Time & Money Should You Separate When a BFA exists, the entire divorce process can be simplified substantially. All that is usually required, is for the lawyers or mediators to simply draw up the divorce agreement implementing the terms of the BFA. This greatly reduces the possibility of a lengthy and costly divorce process, saving you both time and money should you ever separate. Avoid Potential Stress & Legal Battles By eliminating the need for lengthy and costly legal battles regarding finances, divorcing couples avoid potential emotional stress, allowing them to concentrate on children’s issues and ultimately enable them to divorce as amicably as possible.

Equally important as drawing up a Binding Financial Agreement before getting married, is to keep updating it periodically as and when personal circumstances or financial situations change. For more help on drawing up a binding financial agreement before you get married, speak to a local, trusted family lawyer who can assist you, and remember to consult a family law firm in your own state to ensure local state laws are understood and adhered to accordingly.

About Ella:

Ella Hickman is the owner and Principal of Hickman Family Lawyers, one of the leading family lawyers in Perth. She practices almost exclusively in family law in Perth and has a particular interest in parenting and children’s issues, matters arising from domestic violence in relationships, and property settlement cases. She has a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts (majoring in Psychology) from the University of Western Australia and has been practising as a barrister and solicitor since 2014.

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