If you have ever been into our office or spoken with one of our solicitors, you will know that we have concerns regarding binding financial agreements. They don’t provide the certainty that they should, and can come tumbling down when you need them the most.
A recent article on the Sydney Morning Herald Website (24/02/2013), with the help of a current family law matter, shows the fragility of the documents and why we as a law firm and why many other law firms advise that binding financial agreements are risky.
The matter I mentioned above goes like this:
A man, known by his “court pseudonym”, Mr Wallace, had separated from his wife when he met a pole dance at a Sydney club. He became infatuated with the dancer and seven years later they were married.
The couple drew up a binding financial agreement (pre-nup) which stated that if the relationship broke down within four years Mr Wallace would have to pay the pole dancer (Ms Stelzer) an amount of $3.25 million. Their relationship lasted just two years.
Mr Wallace challenged the agreement saying that when it was created Ms Stelzer had acted fraudulently by saying that she loved him, wanted to marry him, have kids with him and spend the rest of their lives together. He also says that his solicitor at the time did not give him the appropriate advice regarding the benefits, advantages and disadvantages of entering into a binding financial agreement. Mr Wallace believes that these two factors show that the agreement cannot be enforced.
Mr Wallace’ solicitor, Trevor Hall, has made a statement saying that every single binding financial agreement in place at the moment has the potential to fall through if a spouse claims that proper advice wasn’t given. Mr Hall also suggests that the law does not adequately guarantee solicitors are giving their client’s proper advice making it unstable ground for both solicitor and client. This one matter has the potential to knock over hundred, if not thousands, of other binding financial agreements.
Many solicitors feel binding financial agreements are no longer beneficial to their clients as these agreements are being looked at by judges and being overturned by suggestions that the documents are not fair by today’s standards.
We are able to provide you advice on the most appropriate way to handle your property and relationship needs. Call us on 02 9792 1833