‘Delaying a divorce can be costly’ (without a financial agreement)

`Delaying divorce can be costly’ was the headline of an interesting article in the weekend edition of the Australian Financial Review.

The first paragraph of the article raises some home truths “Breaking up is hard to do, but it’s not until negotiations begin around a financial settlement that things really start going to hell”… All family lawyers will agree with this statement.

The article is about the role financial agreements can and do play in avoiding a very costly divorce at separation and the risks involved in delaying divorce if one does not exist. It is very true that financial agreements have the flexibility to provide for the more unusual agreements that would not be possible with a Court order. This flexibility is one of the less promoted advantages of a financial agreement that is attractive to couples who are separating.

Financial agreements are also useful for couples who are intending to enter into a relationship. This is the more widely promoted benefit of financial agreements in that such an agreement can protect an inheritance or assets brought into a relationship. Such agreements are also very useful where there is a family business and the children work in the business. The purpose of such a financial agreement is to protect the assets of the business in the event that one of the children has a relationship breakdown.

The article quotes Melbourne based family lawyer, Peter Carew, as commenting that “These days, a better-educated society is more likely to motivate couples to take a rational approach together rather than taking the matter to court.”

Unfortunately people do not appreciate the truth of this statement until it is too late. They find themselves in Court, many thousands of dollars paid out in legal costs (and rising) and no likelihood of a settlement or an end in sight. They have handed over control of their affairs to a very expensive and blunt system where the eventual outcome may be something that neither party wants.

This article is interesting reading for anyone who is in a relationship, either defacto or married.

To obtain further advice from one of our experienced family lawyers, please contact the team at Damien Greer Lawyers.