Financial Matters Before, During or After Marriage

When two people get married, or they have lived together for at least two years or they have made contributions to the relationship then they will begin to accumulate property rights in that relationship under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).  This page deals with those family law property rights.

Financial matters can be considered before, during, or after marriage. While family law financial matters are considered generally only after separation, you can set up financial matters documents before marriage, or entering into a de facto relationship or during a relationship as well.

You can plan for financial matters:

  1. Before your relationship begins: (e.g. prenuptial agreement)
    • you marry;
    • enter a de facto relationship; or
    • start living together.
  2. During your relationship together; or
  3. After separation.  

Before You Marry or Start Living Together

You and your fiancé/soon to be spouse in the case of marriage or de facto partner in the case of a de facto relationship can control what happens to your property and assets in the case that you separate in the future.  In Australia, this is done through a voluntary agreement called a Binding Financial Agreement.  This type of agreement is also commonly known as a pre-nuptial agreement.

The Binding Financial Agreement must be entered into voluntarily and comply with the laws that govern these type of agreements to be valid and enforceable.  A Binding Financial Agreement can provide some protection to the assets brought into the relationship by either or both parties, the assets that accumulate during the relationship, and in the event of separation what will happen to the property and assets.

Under some circumstances, a Binding Financial Agreement may become unenforceable or its protections watered down.  At My Legal Crunch, we provide experienced advice on Binding Financial Agreements to meet your individual needs and provide you with the best protection available.

During Your Relationship Together

You can enter into a Binding Financial Agreement any time after you have married or started living together in a de facto relationship.  In the Binding Financial Agreement, you can both agree what will happen to the assets you each brought into the relationship, the assets that you accumulated during the relationship and what will happen to these assets in the event that you separate.

When You Are Separating Or You Have Separated

When you have separated in Australia on a permanent basis from a former partner, both you are your former partner may have rights over the property you each brought into the relationship and the property that accumulated during the relationship.  In some cases, the property you accumulate after the relationship has ended can be taken into account as well.  There are many factors that determine how property can be fairly divided under the Family Law Act 1975 or if you are in a de facto relationship in Western Australia, the Family Court Act 1997.

It’s important to understand that there are time limits during which you can enforce your rights over the property after separation.  If you go past these time limits you may not be able to bring about the division of your property at all.  Some exceptions do apply to family law time limits which may allow the time limit to be ignored.  If you need to know which family law time limits apply to you, contact us now so we can provide you with legal advice based on your personal circumstances.

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