Understanding Prenuptial Agreement Brisbane, Australia and Binding Financial Agreements

Prenuptial Agreement Australia
Prenuptial agreement brisbane, Qld, Australia

Prenuptial Agreement Brisbane (otherwise known as Binding Financial Agreements “BFA”’s) can be drawn up prior to, during or after a relationship/marriage. BFA’s set out how all or any assets or liabilities will be divided in the event of a breakdown of your relationship.

This means that the assets and liabilities in the parties’ possession at the time of entering into the agreement can be accounted for and so can any accumulated during the relationship. This also includes Superannuation.

Prenuptial Agreement Brisbane and more information relating to Pre Nups & Binding Financial Agreements in Brisbane can be found on our blog.

Spousal maintenance may also be considered in a BFA.

If you are contemplating marriage or entering into a de facto relationship it is a good idea to have a competent lawyer advise you on the pros and cons of doing so. It may be in your best interests not to enter into a BFA under certain circumstances.

People enter into BFA’s after a relationship to account for special terms that the Family Court may not make whilst apply for Consent Orders. In this instance BFA’s provide future security and certainty so that you can make special arrangements that the Court may not make for a number of reasons. This may be for reasons as simple as they may feel that such a decision would prevent the matter from returning to the Court to such reasons as the Court not believing such a division is fair.

BFA’s / Financial Agreements under the Family Law legislation are not simple agreements. Speak with experienced Brisbane family lawyers at your earliest convenience.


Some helpful advice if you are considering entering into Binding Financial Agreements.

Binding financial agreement lawyer Brisbane
Binding financial agreement lawyer Brisbane

We will often have clients come and talk to us about BFA’s. Many have done some research on the internet and have formed the view that they are not worth the paper they are written on.  If they are done properly they will hold up to any scrutiny and will remain as binding as a Court Order.  If the right steps and proper drafting are not done then a Court may have no issue in setting the BFA aside and then your property will be dealt with according to Australian Family Law.

Solicitors are required to advise the parties entering into a Financial Agreement on the advantages and disadvantages of entering into Binding Financial Agreements. The advice will need to be written and this is referred to as Independent Legal Advice. This means the parties can sign a certificate attached to the agreement that they have received this independent legal advice. The solicitors also sign certificates stating that they provided the advice required prior to the parties signing the agreement.

The advice not only needs to set out the advantages and disadvantages, and your rights and obligations on entering into the BFA it must also advise what would happen if the agreement were set aside and your rights and obligations should you be subject to Australian Family Law under case law and the Family Law Act 1975.

Helpful Hint: You will very likely find a lawyer who will witness your signature on an agreement you or someone else has drafted and tell you what the Prenuptial Agreement Brisbane, Australia means.  They will then sign the certificate stating that they have given you independent legal advice.  They may do this for only a few hundred dollars.  If you have not received full written advice as set out on this page it will fall over if challenged.  Then it will not be worth the paper it is written on.

BFA’s are drafted according to the section your circumstances fall under the Family Law Act 1975.  You will need to have the agreement drafted pursuant to different sections depending on whether you are in, intending to enter, or are ending a de facto relationship or marriage.  The same weight is attributed to both relationships under the Family Law Act 1975 and this is the same for same-sex couples.

To obtain the required written independent legal advice first detailed instructions of the relationship must be obtained by the solicitor.  This includes:

  1. Financial and non-financial contributions coming into the relationship;
  2. Financial and non-financial contributions during the relationship (if it has already commenced);
  3. The ages and qualifications and employment histories of the parties;
  4. Any foreseeable future factors that may inhibit a party supporting themselves in the future related to health or other factors; and
  5. Any other factors that may impact on a party in a financial or other fashion in the future such as the presence of control, coercion or domestic violence during the relationship.
prenup agreements brisbane, Qld, Australia
Binding Financial Agreements Brisbane and prenuptial agreement brisbane, Qld, Australia

Binding Financial Agreements Brisbane

It is then necessary to obtain detailed instructions in regard to the wishes of the parties in regard to assets they wish to maintain full and legal control over and those assets which are to be joint assets. Guidance is also needed concerning superannuation, estate rights, and spousal maintenance in the event of a relationship breakdown or the death of one of the parties.

It is necessary for both parties to provide of t their present assets, liabilities, and other financial resources including superannuation. The schedules are required to be attached to the Financial Agreement.  If agreement

All of these factors will need to be considered and steps are taken to provide the required full independent legal advice and draft the agreement.

It must be remembered that both parties to the agreement need receive this detailed advice from separate solicitors.

Unless all these steps are carried out and proper advice given there is a strong possibility that the agreement would be overturned by the Family Court if a party upon separation wishes to set aside the agreement and seek a greater property settlement than that set out in the agreement itself.

Once drafted and properly executed one party retains the original agreement and a true copy given to the other party.  It is also important that the financial agreement documents are stored in a safe place.  The agreement will not come into effect until a point in time in the future when a separation occurs.  This may not be for a considerable time, therefore, there is an obligation on the parties to maintain the financial agreement documents until such time it will need to become relied upon.

Note: It is essential for the other party to consult a qualified family lawyer and obtain comprehensive written advice. There have been numerous instances where agreements were nullified because the partner did not receive thorough legal counsel.

Advantages of Entering into a Prenuptial, Postnuptial, or Binding Financial Agreement

  1. Confidentiality: A financial agreement remains private and does not become part of the court or public records. It does not need to be filed with the Family Court, even if the agreement is later contested.
  2. Clarity and Flexibility in Spousal Maintenance: Parties can include specific terms regarding spousal maintenance within their financial agreement. This ensures that financial interests are clearly delineated should the relationship dissolve. However, it’s important to note that under special circumstances, a party may still seek spousal maintenance after separation, even if the agreement initially aimed to prevent such claims.

This means it is a good idea to consider spousal maintenance provisions in the agreement.

prenup agreements brisbane, Qld, Australia
Prenuptial agreement brisbane, Qld, Australia

It is important to clearly specify the spousal maintenance to be paid in the event of a separation.

The parties should familiarize themselves with the provisions of section 90F of the Family Law Act 1975, as well as other relevant regulations for de facto relationships.

These provisions state:

  1. No clause within a financial contract can remove or limit a court’s authority to issue orders regarding the maintenance of an individual in a marriage or de facto partnership, should the court find that, upon the initiation of the agreement, the person’s circumstances were such that, given the terms and impact of the agreement, they were incapable of self-support without relying on a government-tested pension, allowance, or benefit.
  2. The evaluation of a party’s capacity to sustain themselves without a government-tested pension, allowance, or benefit occurs not at the time the agreement is signed, but rather when it becomes effective.
  3. Financial agreements may include clauses that specify how the superannuation interests of each party are to be treated. In accordance with the agreement’s terms, parties can decide how their superannuation rights will be divided upon separation and the commencement of the agreement’s terms.

When drafting terms related to superannuation in a financial agreement, it is critical to acknowledge that the precise amount of superannuation held by a party will only be known at the implementation of the agreement or upon their death.

The terms included in the financial agreement must meet the criteria of the trustee of the specific fund, aligning with the standards required in court Orders, to ensure procedural fairness for the superannuation fund.

It is also possible that a party may join other superannuation funds in future years. To ensure that benefits from a superannuation fund, including any joined after the agreement is drafted, are payable to the other party upon separation, the agreement must clearly outline these provisions. This is necessary to allow the fund’s trustee to provide procedural fairness through approval of the terms specified in the agreement.

  • A Binding Financial Agreement can be tailored to cover only certain assets or liabilities. For instance, it might specifically exclude the family home from being divided upon separation, as stated explicitly in the agreement. Likewise, the agreement can facilitate the partial transfer of an interest in an asset during a separation, ensuring such a division is executed as planned.

When an agreement only encompasses particular assets, any other assets not included in the agreement will be handled according to the general rules set out in the Family Law Act 1975, based on the laws in force at the time of separation.

  • Furthermore, financial agreements can incorporate third parties, who are then obliged to adhere to the agreement’s conditions. Since the Family Court lacks authority to impose orders on third parties, financial agreements offer a significant advantage over court orders in this respect.

What are the disadvantages of having a Binding Financial Agreement?

Disadvantages of Binding financial agreements
Binding Financial Agreement Brisbane

Disadvantages of entering into a financial agreement:

  1. The parties to a financial agreement clearly define what will happen to their assets and liabilities if a separation should occur in their relationship. This separation may occur many years after the financial agreement is entered into.

The terms of the financial agreement only come into effect once that separation occurs.  There could be a substantial change in the party’s financial affairs since the agreement was entered into.  Although the agreement may be fair and equitable at the time the agreement was entered into, it may not be fair and equitable when the agreement comes into effect.  This would mean that a party may suffer a financial disadvantage at the time of separation.  There could be a substantial change in the assets and liabilities of the parties or a party could make substantial contributions towards the acquisition and improvement of assets but would gain no financial interest in the assets although the value of the assets has subsequently increased.  Terms of the agreement should account for this circumstance at the time of drafting.

  1. Due to agreements not being required to be filed with any court, should the parties lose the agreement and a copy not be obtained then the terms of the agreement will not be enforceable?
  2. The cost associated with both parties entering into a Binding Financial Agreement is comparatively high.  There is also the cost of defending an application to have an agreement set aside through litigation (or initiating such application), however, even orders of the Court can be challenged at a later date.
  3. A Binding Financial Agreement should contemplate children at a later date if there is a possibility that some should result from the relationship.  This is necessary due to a change in entitlement to the property of the relationship occurring under Australian family law once children become part of the relationship.  A disadvantage may occur when the agreement comes into effect should such matters not be contemplated.
  4. Full disclosure is required by both parties of their assets and liabilities before signing the agreement and at the time of separation. If at a subsequent time after the signing of the agreement or upon a separation a party becomes aware of other assets owned by the other party and not disclosed in the agreement then the agreement may be set aside.

What are terms for Child Support and Child Maintenance in a Binding financial agreement?

Child support act brisbane
Child Support and Child Maintenance in a Binding financial agreement

In regard to child maintenance or child support terms in a Binding Financial Agreement, terms can be inserted but such terms must meet the requirements of the Child Support (Assessment) Act.

Effectively a child support provision in a financial agreement can only set out on a temporary basis the child support obligations of a party to the agreement.  Once a child support assessment is made by the Child Support Agency, any child support provision in a financial agreement ceases to have an effect and is unenforceable.

Here is what the legislation says about binding financial agreements that may be set aside under the provisions of the Family Law Act 1975

The Family Law Act 1975 sets out that a financial agreement will “end” under two circumstances.  It can be either “terminated” under s90J or 90UL or “set aside” under s90K or 90UM.  Termination is an action of the parties agree to undertake, however setting aside is an action of the Court.

Setting aside a Binding Financial Agreement

A Court may set aside an agreement if it is “void, voidable or unenforceable”.  If this ground is used, the parties or one of them may already consider that the agreement no longer operates.  A party may apply to the court for an order that a financial agreement be set aside in circumstances where that party already believes that the contract has been rescinded, breached or is otherwise unenforceable.

    1. Sections 90J and 90UL of the Act specifically provides that parties to a financial agreement may only terminate it by:
        1. Including a provision to that effect in another financial agreement, or
        2. Making a written agreement known as a ‘termination agreement’.
    2. Financial and termination agreements can be set aside under s90K or 90UM:-

if, and only if, the court is satisfied that:

        1. the agreement was obtained by fraud (including non-disclosure of a material matter); or
        2. a party to the agreement entered into the agreement:

(i)  for the purpose, or for purposes that included the purpose, of defrauding or defeating a creditor or creditors of the party; or

(ii)  with reckless disregard of the interests of a creditor or creditors of the party; or

(ab)  a party (the agreement party ) to the agreement entered into the agreement:

(i)  for the purpose, or for purposes that included the purpose, of defrauding another person who is a party to a de facto relationship with a spouse party; or

(ii)  for the purpose, or for purposes that included the purpose, of defeating the interests of that other person in relation to any possible or pending application for an order under section 90SM, or a declaration under section 90SL, in relation to the de facto relationship; or

(iii)  with reckless disregard of those interests of that other person; or

(b)  the agreement is void, voidable or unenforceable; or

(c)  in the circumstances that have arisen since the agreement was made it is impracticable for the agreement or a part of the agreement to be carried out; or

(d)  since the making of the agreement, a material change in circumstances has occurred (being circumstances relating to the care, welfare and development of a child of the marriage) and, as a result of the change, the child or, if the applicant has caring responsibility for the child (as defined in subsection (2)), a party to the agreement will suffer hardship if the court does not set the agreement aside; or

(e)  in respect of the making of a financial agreement–a party to the agreement engaged in conduct that was, in all the circumstances, unconscionable; or

(f)  a payment flag is operating under Part VIIIB on a superannuation interest covered by the agreement and there is no reasonable likelihood that the operation of the flag will be terminated by a flag lifting agreement under that Part; or

(g)  the agreement covers at least one superannuation interest that is an unsplittable interest for the purposes of Part VIIIB

In some respects, financial agreements are easier to set aside than consent orders and in other respects, they are more difficult to generate.

Financial agreements are enforceable after the death of a party to the agreement.    Sections 90H and 90UK provides that a financial agreement:

“continues to operate despite the death of a party to the agreement and operates in favour of, and is binding on, the legal personal representative of that party”.

Parties Terminating a Financial Agreement

The parties may terminate a financial agreement by:-

    1. Entering into a termination agreement or;
    2. Entering into a new financial agreement which includes specifically terminating the previous agreement.
Always know your legal options by consulting an Accredited Specialist Family Lawyers Brisbane.

Pre-Nups, Post-nuptials & Binding Financial Agreements Brisbane (BFA’s)

If you would like to read the relevant sections of the legislation in regard to Divorce Property Settlement and in particular Binding Financial Agreements please go to the Family Law Act 1975. Please reference Sections 90 & 90U.

Prenuptial Agreement Brisbane, Australia and Financial Agreement before, during and after relationship breakdown

Parties are able to enter into a Prenuptial Agreement Brisbane, Australia or financial agreement regarding assets acquired:

  • before and during the relationship; as well as
  • after the relationship has ended.

Note: Brisbane Prenuptial Agreement Brisbane and financial agreements can be particularly useful where you have inherited assets from a family estate, or where you have accumulated your own personal wealth from a successful career and making wise investments.

Look no further than James Noble Law! We are your dependable Family Law specialists in CairnsBrisbane, and Milton. Benefit from a complimentary 20-minute consultation with our skilled legal team – no strings attached! Secure your slot now to connect with our seasoned Family Lawyers.


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