SEPARATING? 5 Reasons Why You Need a Consent Order or Binding Financial Agreement

You’ve finally reached an agreement with your ex-partner about your parenting and property arrangements. It’s taken months, a lot of hard work and some tough negotiation but you’ve got there –all without the lawyers and not a dollar spent. So why bother with a legal agreement? Afterall, you’ve got a fair agreement, you’re both happy with that and ready to move on, right?

But failing to document your agreement comes with some BIG risks. In this article we’ll give you our 5 top reasons why you need to have a legal agreement either by way of a Consent Order or Binding Financial Agreement (BFA).

1. Change of Mind: It’s not uncommon for one party to change their mind about the agreements reached at the time of separation. We recently had a client who was involved in a de-facto relationship of 15 years. At the time of separation, they made an informal agreement, and our client paid her ex-partner a lump sum to “buy him out” of the house, being the main asset of the relationship. At the time, they believed this figure as fair. They didn’t want to obtain a Consent Order from the family court, neither did they put a BFA in place.

Six years later, our client received a letter from her ex-partners solicitors. He had found out that she had received an inheritance of about $250,000, had acquired an investment property and that the value of the house that they had lived in had increased by about $120,000. Her ex-partner wanted a share of the inheritance, the investment property, and the increase in value of their home. But could he?

Well, under family law, and in exceptional circumstances the court will grant permission for a property claim to be brought outside the two - year time limit from the date of separation in a de-facto relationship and 12 months from the date of divorce if married.