Sunday, 17 January 2016

Combined Defacto and ‘Pre-nup’ Pre-Marriage Financial Agreements Determined to be Valid

Talking with your partner about entering into a binding financial agreement, or a ‘pre-nup’ as they are sometimes known, is a difficult enough conversation.

Making it more difficult, the Family Law Act 1975 provides that if you are in a defacto relationship, and enter into an agreement under the defacto sections of the law, that agreement will come to an end and cease to be effective upon marriage.

Quite why this is the case has never been clear to the legal profession at large, but most lawyers have advised then that parties considering marriage with an existing agreement should re-enter a new agreement at that time.

This often doubles the cost of getting a financial agreement and both parties have to attend at lawyers again to obtain what often amounts to very similar advice.

A newly-published case (Piper & Mueller [2015]  however states that a financial agreement is able to be both a defacto agreement – pursuant to s90UC of the Family Law Act – as well as a pre-marriage agreement – pursuant to s90B of the Family Law Act.

The rationale is that the agreements do not conflict with each other because the portion of the agreement that relates to being under the defacto laws ‘falls away’ when the parties marry, as a result of that same troublesome piece of the law that caused difficulty above.

This means that parties can save considerable cost, as well as time and stress, by having an agreement drafted during their defacto relationship that is put into operation with marriage.

Our lawyers would be pleased to assist you with that type of agreement and answer any questions you have about these agreements.

You can call us on 03 9614 7111 or email

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