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Binding Financial Agreements

When a relationship ends, a Binding Financial Agreement (also known as a BFA) may be entered into by both parties to formalise a separation of assets and liabilities. It is important for both parties to receive independent legal advice before agreeing to a BFA to ensure terms are compliant with Family Law Act 1975.

Our highly skilled team at Pearsons Lawyers can advise and guide you on all aspects of such agreements. For your first FREE appointment, call our specialist team so you know where you stand.

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Binding Financial Agreements

Financial agreements can be made between two parties after a relationship ends, in place of Consent Orders, to formalise a splitting of assets. A Binding Financial Agreement is a written agreement that constitutes a legal contract between both parties, and can cover agreements such as child support, spousal maintenance, and property settlement.

Our specialist team of Family Lawyers have many years of experience in advising and preparing Binding Financial Agreements after a relationship breakdown. We ensure that our clients have the right advice before making an agreement, ensuring financial certainty and security in the future and protecting assets and income from future claims.

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"Just as every family is unique, every separation is as well.  In the decades of practising Family Law we have had the privilege of observing so many different situations and assisted parties untangle their children’s issues and financial matters.  In the end, the aim is to ensure that the desired outcome is achieved."

Binding Financial Agreements

Property Settlement Options

Binding Financial Agreements Can encompass:
(i) Spousal support

Both parties can enter into an agreement that neither will seek financial support from the other party. This ensures security concerning ongoing financial support for your former partner. Alternatively, you can have a Binding Financial Agreement which makes provision for ongoing periodic financial support on a regular basis from your former partner but this is in rare circumstances and would be where your spouse is unable to work.

(ii) Property Arrangements

Binding Financial Agreements can finalise property arrangements between the parties where the option of having a Consent Order ratified by the Court is not available either because the parties choose not to have a Court seal or alternatively, the agreement is one which the Court would not approve because it is outside the range of what the parties could expect to receive from the Family Court. Sometimes entering into a Binding Financial Agreement can be quicker than seeking a Court Order.

(iii) Binding Child Support Agreements

Binding Child Support Agreements are often prepared when parties want to formalise child support arrangements to include not only periodic child support as assessed by the Child Support Agency but but also may include other expenses such as:

  • Educational costs including school fees, books, uniforms and camps; and
  • Health costs including private health insurance, out of pocket expenses for medical, dental, orthodontal, chiropractic, osteo etc.
  • Extracurricular activity

These Binding Child Support Agreements can be registered with the Child Support Agency and can also filed with the Family Court.

Consent Orders

A Binding Financial Agreement is an alternative to Consent Orders, which finalise property matters between parties through a formal Court Application and minute of the proposed Orders sought by agreement.

Usually, one of the parties’ lawyers prepares the documents which are then signed by both parties and filed with the Court. A Registrar of the Court reads the documents and makes an assessment as to whether the agreement is within the range of what the Court would normally expect.

The Court then seals the Orders without the need for either of the parties or solicitors to attend Court and the Orders are released. These Orders are final and they are enforceable and they remain on the Court file. Consent Orders must be deemed fair and just by the Courts to be approved.

The Judge’s Decision

A Binding Financial Agreement is an option of formalising financial agreements that does not require the Court’s approval, but an agreement must be reached by both parties for a BFA to be made. If parties are unable to agree on the division of property between themselves despite negotiations between solicitors and/or mediation, legal proceedings commence and the matter will be heard in the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court. Mediation is a compulsory step in this process, with approximately 80% of cases resolved at or before mediation.

In the event that the matter does not resolve at or before mediation the Court case will proceed to Trial. Each party and their witnesses give evidence and submissions are made.After hearing all of the evidence and submissions the Judge, in due course, will normally hand down their decision. The timing of the handing down of the decision depends on the complexity of the case. The Judge’s decision is final and can only be appealed if there is an error in law.

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During your initial free consultation we will:

  • Discuss your circumstances.
  • Answer any questions about the divorce process.
  • Present your options.
  • Advise you of your entitlements.
  • Provide you with information about the cost of a divorce and separation.

Call our office or fill in the contact form to book your free appointment.

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"The team at Pearsons has been amazing and they have helped me get through the most difficult & challenging time of my life. "

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