Written by Caitlin Picker
Valentine’s Day is a romantic day for couples and for some it is the perfect occasion to show their everlasting love and commitment to one another.
On this romantic day, talks of marriage often occur between couples, but the hard truth is marriages always end. Marriages end in either death or divorce. A financial agreement, including pre-nuptial and cohabitation, detail the terms for both parties should either outcome occur. A lot of people believe that ‘pre-nups’ are only used in cases of divorce, but the agreement also entails the rights of a spouse upon the death of the other. This means the document must spell out the rights of each spouse upon the death of the other as well as the terms that apply in the event of a divorce.
Professor Brian Simpson, who specialises in Family Law at the UNE Law School notes ‘the term financial agreement is more accurate than ‘pre-nuptial’ agreement. Professor Simpsons states that a financial agreement can be entered into before, during or after a marriage or applicable de facto relationship. Professor Simpson says if couples are thinking about such an agreement, they should first seek professional help from a lawyer experienced in drafting these documents.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, pre-nuptial agreements are very popular relating to second marriages. This is often because of existing children from previous relationships. These agreements can ensure children are protected at the end of a marriage.
If you do get engaged this Valentine’s Day or marriage is on the cards, a financial agreement is something both parties may consider before getting married. This of course is a deeply personal decision. Some legal experts recommend drafting a financial agreement as soon as you become engaged as these documents take time to finalise. Others see no point in completing the agreement, especially for younger couples who have no significant assets.
If marriage, divorce and financial agreements are of interest to you, these issues are explored further in the Family Law unit on offer at the UNE Law School. For more information on LAW370 follow the link: <https://my.une.edu.au/courses/2019/units/LAW370>