When it comes to romance, you probably think of sunset walks along the beach, candlelit dinners, and receiving a big bunch of roses just because.
You probably wouldn’t add a financial agreement to that list.
But prenuptial agreements can actually enhance your relationship. Sure, it’s not a feature of Hollywood rom-coms. But by talking openly about what you have, what you owe and what is important for the future, you establish trust, intimacy and honesty. And it’s these conversations that build deep and lasting connections, allowing you both to face what’s to come together.
What is a prenup?
A prenuptial agreement, known as a Financial Agreement in the Family Law Act, is a legally binding agreement that sets out how a couple will manage their finances in the event that their relationship breaks down.
You can enter into a financial agreement before, during or after marriage or de facto relationship. It’s intended to set out the property settlement after the relationship ends but can also cover things like who will retain certain items, and whether one person will pay the other spousal maintenance.
For a financial agreement to be legally binding, both people need to receive independent legal advice before signing. Neither person can be placed under duress to sign the agreement, and both people have to fully disclose information about their assets and liabilities.
Who should get a prenup?
You might think that only rich people need prenups. And while people who have a lot of assets gain certain financial protections with a prenup, the reality is that any couple that expects their financial situation to change in the future can benefit from a prenup.
For example, a financial agreement can consider a situation where your partner takes time off work to pursue more education, only to have the relationship end once their new (higher paying) career takes off.
It can also protect business assets, an expected inheritance, and even who will keep the family pets if the relationship breaks down.
How to raise the idea of a prenup
You might be concerned about how your partner will react if you raise the subject of a prenup, particularly if it hasn’t come up in conversation previously.
The prospect of divorce can be uncomfortable, particularly if you’re in the throes of moving in together or planning a wedding. But a financial agreement can be seen in the same way as taking out insurance – something you hope to never have to need. But if you do, the planning that you’ve done now will make the transition smoother and less difficult for both of you.
The reality is that it’s never easy to talk about the potential for a relationship to end. But relationships are not always easy, and there are many conversations you will have to have that will be difficult or uncomfortable.
However, speaking openly about your expectations and finances can strengthen your relationship and ensure you’re both working together for a common goal – which is one of the most romantic things a couple can do.
If you’re considering whether a financial agreement is right for your situation, it’s important for first speak with a lawyer. The team at DDCS Lawyers are experienced in all aspects of family law. Call us on (02) 6212 7600 to arrange an appointment.