Career Woman

Should career women consider prenuptial agreements?

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Should you say ‘I will’ before you say ‘I do’? Frequently we have inquiries from clients who are about to marry and have been asked by their partner to sign a prenuptial agreement. You will see prenups mentioned more commonly in relation to the weddings of celebrities or the wealthy, but they are also used by people far removed from those top-shelf levels. However, this is a highly emotive area that has more than a few land mines.

First, what is the legal situation with prenups in Australia? And second, should you?

Australia

Prenuptial agreements had always been available to parties in a defacto relationship but not to married couples. However, in 2002 the legislation was changed so that under the Family Law Act couples who were thinking about getting married or couples who were already married and still together, could enter into a prenuptial agreement that set out what would happen to their property if – often, despite their best intentions — the relationship did not work out.

So should you?

For young couples with their lives ahead of them, a prenuptial agreement is often not suitable to their circumstances. The reason for this is that it is too hard to estimate what their future will hold and whether the agreement signed now would represent a fair outcome in the future.

These considerations include whether they will have children or what happens if one partner becomes unwell and can’t work. These can be some of the reasons why a court will not enforce an agreement that may have been made many years before.

For couples who are older and marrying a second time, these agreements can sometimes give some certainty — especially if there are adult children on one or both sides, and there is no plan to have more children in this relationship.

It is certainly something to consider and to obtain some advice on as to what would be best for your particular circumstances.

The family law practitioners at Matthews Folbigg have experience and specialise in assisting clients in this area of the law.

About Carolyn Munk

Carolyn Munk is the Principal, Family Law Group at MatthewsFolbigg Lawyers . Carolyn can be contacted at carolynm@matthewsfolbigg.com.au.

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