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Court introduces new initiatives to help alleviate the significant delays in the Court

A divorce lawyer will advise you that the Court delays in hearing and finalising your property application under the Family Law Act have in some registries became even longer. It is for this reason that the divorce lawyer tries to encourage their client to consider mediation either privately or through the Court.

The Court itself is also considering options to help reduce the back log of cases.  A divorce lawyer will provide information about the PPP Program currently being tried out in some registries including at the Parramatta Federal Circuit Court.

The aim of the program is to:-

  • Identify cases that fall within the guidelines of the program
  • List those cases separately in lists where the progress can be clearly tracked
  • Lessen the amount of required documentation to be filed at Court
  • Provide those parties with the opportunity to participate in a Conciliation Conference before a Registrar (where each party and their divorce lawyer attend).
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Recent Family Court Case Sheds Light on What Initial Contributions are Really Worth?

On 1 May 2020, the Family Court handed down the decision of Barnell & Barnell. This matter involved a wife’s separation lawyer seeking to appeal a final judgment based on the Court’s treatment of the husband’s initial contributions.

The husband purchased Property B in 1988 prior to the commencement of the relationship in 1995. While no valuation was conducted on the property as at the commencement of cohabitation, the current value was agreed to be $340,000.

Given the length of the relationship and consistent gifts of money from the wife’s parents, the wife’s separation lawyer argued that the overall contributions of the parties should be considered equal. The Judge disagreed and said that to do so, would be to give insufficient weight to the fact that Property B was unencumbered at the commencement of the relationship and has not since been improved by either party. As the value of Property B represented some 36% of the net property pool, the Judge held that the husband’s contribution must be accorded significant weight. The Judge made an assessment of contributions as 62.5% to the husband and 37.5% to the wife being a 25% difference in contributions to reflect the various contributions of both parties.
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The Changing Stigma Associated with Signing a Prenuptial Agreement

The idea of a binding financial agreement, commonly known as a prenuptial agreement has traditionally been associated with a negative and unromantic stigma; often automatically suggesting that the individual seeking the prenup is already having doubts about the relationship.

This stigma however is dwindling away with more millennial couples now seeing the positive side to prenuptial agreements. Statistics have illustrated a rise over the past two decades of the median age of couples marrying for the first time.  More individuals are now entering into relationships with existing assets including real estate and established businesses. Prenuptial agreements are more often being viewed by such individuals as analogous to buying insurance. No one buys insurance with the intention of crashing their car or having their home robbed, they purchase it for peace of mind just in case it happens. Likewise, parties don’t get married and enter a prenuptial agreement with a plan to get divorced; it is just insurance in the event that things don’t go to plan.

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Divorce Lawyer Parramatta Explains the Requirements for a Binding Prenuptial Agreement

Why it is important to speak to a divorce lawyer Parramatta

When formulating a Binding Financial Agreement, commonly known as a prenuptial agreement,  there is no requirement for Court approval and only independent legal advice is necessary in the execution of the prenuptial agreement. It is advised that you speak to a specialist divorce lawyer Parramatta who is well informed of the particular compliance criteria for a binding agreement to be formed.

Prenuptial agreements are very complicated and require strict compliance with legislation for the agreement to be valid. Appropriate legal advice from a divorce lawyer Parramatta is vital, as in the event that parties do separate and wish to enforce the agreement, the Court has the power to set it aside as invalid and unenforceable if it was not properly executed in accordance with certain criteria.

Requirements

A prenuptial agreement is binding on the parties to the Agreement if, and only if:

  1. The prenuptial agreement is signed by both parties.
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Prenuptial Agreement upheld on Appeal – De Facto Relationship with one woman while married to another

In the recent decision of Sha & Cham [2017], the Full Court of the Family Court of Australia considered an appeal by the Appellant Husband (who we will call Mr B) and the Respondent De Facto Wife (who we will call Ms C).

Background

The appeal arose from the first instance decision of His Honour Judge Johnston in proceedings before the Family Court of Australia. In those proceedings Ms C bought an application seeking injunctive orders and enforcement of a s90UC Binding Financial Agreement, more commonly referred to as a prenuptial agreement which She and Mr B had entered during the course of their relationship.

Judge Johnston found that the parties were in a de facto relationship. As such, Ms C was successful in the Family Court.

The Facts

Mr B married Mrs B.

Mr B meets Ms C in a massage parlour and they commence a sexual relationship that evening.

Mr B continues to live and be married to Mrs B.

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