Financial & Property Agreements
PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY RIGHTS IN RELATIONSHIPS
We are uniquely prepared to assist you with any formal division of property between pre-nuptial or married or de facto couples, as our principal lawyer is also a highly skilled forensic accountant, a fully qualified Certified Practising Accountant, with over 22 years of tough commercial experience tracking down hidden or stolen assets for global Australian companies.
If you require independent legal advice on a financial agreement while overseas, due to the current COVID-19 travel restrictions, contact us and we will provide advice to you using online video conferencing. If you obtain advice from an overseas lawyer, they must hold an Australian Practising Certificate, in order to make the agreement legally binding.
What we do for you:
Financial agreements are sometimes referred to as a "binding financial agreement", but in order for the agreement to be "binding" your solicitor must ensure that it meets all the criteria as set our in the Family Law Act 1975. Financial agreements may be entered into by married couples (or those contemplating marriage) and de facto couples, and those contemplating a de facto relationship.
In order for financial or termination agreements to limit the power of a court to make orders for financial arrangements between de facto or married partners, the agreement must also comply with the laws of contract governing the formation of agreements and it must be in writing and be certified by an Australian lawyer as to the advice given.
Financial agreements are divided into three groups:
prenuptial financial agreements made before marriage or before the commencement of a de facto relationship;
financial agreements made during marriage (including after separation) or during a de facto relationship; and
financial agreements (or property settlements) made after divorce or at the end of a de facto relationship.
The effect of the recent amendments to the Family Law Act 1975 means that financial agreements can be any combination of the following:
an agreement only between parties to a marriage or a proposed marriage, or an agreement between parties to a proposed de facto relationship or a de facto relationship that has not broken down (spouse parties only);
spouse parties to a marriage (or parties to a de facto relationship) that has broken down and the de facto partner or married partner of one or both of those spouse parties;
a combined binding financial agreement and child support agreement (and perhaps even a parenting plan);
a binding child support agreement and a parenting plan;
a parenting plan and a binding financial agreement;
any of the above combinations and provisions that deal with superannuation interests; or
any of the above and a third party or third parties.
Financial agreements are really complex contracts. So to avoid serious future legal issues for the parties, care must be taken in drafting them. Our goal is to prepare an agreement that reflects the true intentions of the parties but at the same time we help to ensure that our client’s objectives are paramount and achievable. So, be wary of extremely low fee estimates in this complex area of the law.
In family law matters, we have the skills and the experience to forensically analyse lifestyles for spousal support purposes, determine the income available for child support, and discover (or uncover) assets for equitable distribution of property. For further information on our legal support and forensic audit services please telephone our office.
Property Settlements in the Family Court
After a divorce or separation, if you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement with regard to the division of the matrimonial property, usually by way of a financial agreement pursuant to the Family Law Act 1975, then it may become necessary for you resolve the matter by applying for an order from the Family Court of Australia, to apportion between you and your spouse, or de facto partner, a fair distribution of the matrimonial assets.
You and your partner can also apply for consent orders to reach agreement on your property. However, there are disadvantages to consent orders as well as advantages.
We can easily assist you to determine which type of financial agreement or court order is better for you during our free case assessment of your legal matter.
How much do we charge you?
Our fixed fees for financial (or property) agreements are exceptionally reasonable. We recommend that you compare our fees with other firms before choosing a lawyer.
For advising you on a simple prenuptial financial agreement prepared by another solicitor, our fixed fees start at $1,500. Fixed fees for us to prepare and advise you on a prenuptial financial agreement are similarly reasonable, starting at $1,990.
For advising on more complex financial agreements involving distribution of property after separation or divorce, we also offer a fixed fee in combination with the Family Court Scale of Costs. Our combination of a fixed fee, plus Scale of Costs, for preparing or advising on complex Family Law financial agreements after separation or divorce, are also economical. Please contact our office for a fixed fee estimate in your case, or book a free case assessment.
Property Settlements in Court
You will also find our fees for property applications to Court are competitive and reasonable, and far less expensive than most other family law solicitors. The simple reason is that we do not use an expensive hourly rate for our work, as many other family law firms do. We charge our Family Court clients based on the economical Family Court Scale of Costs made under the rules of the court. Consequently, total fees for our work are lower and more reasonable than many other family law firms. It is also much easier for the client to understand their legal bills using the Scale of Costs, as most items in the Scale are billed on a "flat fee" or a "per item" of work completed. Take a few minutes to look at the Family Law Scale, and you'll see what we mean.
Our fees in other family law matters such as alternative dispute resolution, mediation, and arbitration, can also be based on the Family Law Scale of Costs, or a very reasonable fixed fee we will negotiate with you. A choice of billing methods can give you the most cost-effective outcome in your family law matter. Please feel free to contact us to learn more about our economical fee structure.
Litigation is always stressful for most people. One important way we can express our respect and concern for you as a client is to confer with you on a regular basis. Frequent updates of progress in your case are important for your well-being and for you to have the opportunity to continue to instruct us and advise us as your case progresses. We consider this regular communication so important that we offer it as a free client service (via text messages.) We want you to feel in control as much as possible in any matter, or at least in the loop, when important decisions must be made either in costs or in strategy.
We cordially invite you to book a free case assessment with a friendly, knowledgeable, and experienced lawyer at ALFA Lawyers who can discuss your requirements in relation to financial agreements or property settlements, or telephone our office for more information.