Binding Financial Agreements (BFAs)

Binding Financial Agreements (BFAs)

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Commonly known as Pre-Nuptial Agreements or ‘Pre-Nups’, Cullen Macleod can advise you on whether a BFA is a suitable arrangement for you.

Our team can provide tailored solutions, taking into account your financial situation and the specifics of your relationship.

What is a BFA?

Financial Agreements, more commonly known as PreNuptial Agreements or “Pre-Nups”, enable couples to contract out of the Family Law Act 1975 (or in the case of de facto couples in WA, the Family Court Act 1997) and avoid future litigation in the event that a relationship breaks down in the future.

Under the current legislation, couples can enter into BFAs either before, during or after a marriage or de facto relationship begins. This broadens the use of BFAs from their traditional use as a “Pre Nup”, and gives couples the freedom to enter into them at any stage in their relationship.

Each relationship is different, and the financial circumstances of each party to a relationship will vary considerably. With that being said, BFAs are not a document that should be entered into lightly or without proper consideration. They also come with an initial financial investment (that is, the legal fees each of you will have to pay to have the BFA prepared and to receive independent legal advice, as required under the legislation).

BFAs come with an emotional health warning. Many people find the discussion of a potential relationship breakdown, during a successful relationship, to be distasteful. In some circumstances, simply discussing a BFA can cause a relationship breakdown rather than its intention, which is to promote harmony in the event of a relationship breakdown.

Do I need a BFA?

The following is a list of potential situations where a BFA might be useful:

  1. you are entering into a second, or subsequent, marriage or de facto relationship;
  2. one or more of you have accumulated substantial wealth individually prior to your relationship;
  3. you or your family are involved in a family farming or other business which has been in the family for many generations;
  4. there is a substantial difference in the assets (or liabilities) of each party;
  5. you have received, or are likely to receive in the future, a substantial inheritance from your family; and/or
  6. You want to avoid costly argument in the Family Court if your relationship breaks down.

BFAs vary in form, from simply isolating each of your assets, to complex agreements contingent on many factors. Once you and your partner have agreed to enter into a BFA, the terms of the BFA are entirely open to you. This can provide a lot more flexibility than if the Family Court imposed orders for property settlement or spousal maintenance upon you.

If you are interested in learning more about BFAs, or speaking to one of our experienced family law team about any matter relating to family law, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Who is available to assist you?

Our team of experienced solicitors are available to help you. In the first instance contact our senior team:

Meredith Hunter

Principal – Family Law