Binding Financial Agreements
Securing your future with a Binding Financial Agreement
Not every family law issue is a battle. Even if you and your ex-partner no longer share a life, you may still agree how to divide property and finances.
When an agreement is possible, a binding financial agreement (BFA) may be the ideal solution to achieving a separation now and protecting your interests in the future.
Making a BFA requires a lot of thought. You need it to accommodate your needs, both now and later on. If we could predict the future, this would be easy. But without magical powers, your next best choice is an affordable and experienced family lawyer, highly skilled in negotiating and drafting binding financial agreements..
You’ve come to the right place.
Our solicitors specialise in preparing and advising on BFAs.
Additionally, our law firm has been rated Top Three Best Family Lawyers in Sydney for four consecutive years now.
Rated top 3 best Family Lawyers in Sydney for 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
What exactly is a Binding Financial Agreement
A binding financial agreement is a type of contract. You and your partner can make a BFA at any stage of your relationship:
• Before getting married (often, this is known as a prenuptial agreement, or a prenup)
• During your de facto relationship
• During your marriage (also known as a post-nuptial agreement)
• After separating or divorcing
Advantages of having a binding financial agreement
If you and your former partner make a binding financial agreement, you can avoid asking a family court to decide how to divide your property.
Court proceedings often cause tremendous stress to the parties involved. They’re also expensive. Usually, there’s a wait of many months (or years) before a court hears the case.
During that time, you’re living with the uncertainty of what your future holds.
BFAs often bypass the time, cost and stress of going to court.
Often, BFAs also have the advantage of:
• Allowing you and your partner to make your own decisions, rather than handing over control to a judge who doesn’t know you
•Reducing conflict, which may make it easier for you and your partner to work together in the long-term, for the good of your children and any other issues
• Helping you move on with your life
Frequently Asked Questions
☔ What does a binding financial agreement cover?
Binding financial agreements can cover any financial issues between the parties, for example:
• Splitting assets and debts
• Division of finances
• Spousal maintenance
• Child support
BFAs can also cover more specific financial issues, including:
• Division of superannuation
• Dealing with a family business
• Where one or both parties have given a financial guarantee
• Capital gains tax liabilities
Parties can ask the Family Court to make consent orders based on their BFA. This means that both parties agree on the orders.
If one party breaches the BFA, the other party can apply directly to the Family Court to uphold the orders. It’s a quicker, more efficient way to enforce a BFA.
📑 Is a binding financial agreement legally enforceable?
When there’s a breach of a BFA, it means one of the parties hasn’t complied with the requirements. It’s like a breach of contract.
If there is a breach, you would first try and get your former partner to comply. If that doesn’t work, speak to us. We’ll discuss taking legal action to help sort it out.
🕑 When should I make a binding financial agreement?
You and your spouse may make a binding financial agreement at any time before, during or after separation, divorce or marriage.
A BFA won’t be the right choice for everyone. But if there’s a chance you and your former partner can agree, it’s worth considering.
This doesn’t mean you’ve resolved everything. It may mean that you agree about many significant issues, or that you’re close to agreeing. Sometimes, parties need assistance from experienced binding financial agreement lawyers to get over the final hurdle.
That’s why we’re here. Speak to us about your property settlement issues to find out how we can help.
👨💼 Do I have to see a lawyer to make a binding financial agreement?
Before you sign a binding financial agreement, Australian family law requires you to get independent legal advice and financial advice. The purpose of this is to try and make sure:
• You understand how the BFA will affect you
• You’re making the BFA of your own free will and not being forced to sign it
• The BFA is in your best interests
❓ Why do I need Independent Advice to make a binding financial agreement?
Independent advice means that you’ve seen a family lawyer and financial professional of your choosing, rather than seeing someone who’s connected with your former partner.
The BFA isn’t legally binding unless you can prove you received the advice before you signed the agreement.
We prefer to get involved during the negotiation phase and the drafting phase. Our significant BFA experience means we can spot potential issues, work out what you need for your financial security and make sure the agreement is fair for you and your kids.
💰 How much does a binding financial agreement cost?
Generally speaking, the entire process to prepare and finalise a BFA could cost about $2000 to $5000.
If you’re thinking about a BFA, you’re probably also experiencing financial uncertainty. You may feel that getting a family lawyer to represent you is too much of a risk because you don’t know whether you can pay the legal fees.
That’s why we offer flexible billing arrangements. Because you shouldn’t be denied a fair settlement, and you shouldn’t have to worry about cost when you’ve got plenty of other concerns.
✍ What is the process for making binding financial agreements?
If you’re interested in a BFA, it’s best to make an appointment with us.
We’ll get a detailed picture of your financial situation and carefully consider your needs. We’ll need you to provide us with as much accounting information as possible, including:
• Tax returns
• Household and living expenses
• Assets (for example, real property, bank accounts and shares)
• Details of all debts (for example, mortgages and credit card debt)
• Business assets
• Dependent’s expenses (for example, school fees)
We’ll start by considering your assets and debts. Then we’ll look at:
• Whether we need to locate any property
• The extent to which you and your partner agree or disagree
• How complex or straightforward are your financial arrangements
• Whether you have any special needs (for example, medical needs)
• The needs of your dependants
• Whether you agree on other issues, for example, parenting arrangements
• The level of conflict between you and your former partner
All of these things will give us an idea of whether a BFA is right for you, whether we should be considering other forms of settlement, how long it may take to negotiate a BFA, and the likely cost.
⏰ How long does it take to make a binding financial agreement?
The time to complete a binding financial agreement really depends on your personal situation. It some situations it can be finalised within a week or it could take up to 2-6 weeks.
It will probably take more than one appointment to get everything just right.
Once we understand your situation, we’ll give you a written estimate of cost and time frame, and detailed advice about the best solution for you.
Clear and ongoing communication is as important to us as it is to you. We’ll keep you updated every time there’s a development in your legal issue.