Before a financial agreement becomes legally binding, both parties are required by law to obtain independent legal advice. Why is this so?
Under section 90G for married couples, or section 90UJ for de facto couples, parties to a financial agreement must receive independent legal advice before they execute their agreement. Independent meaning you cannot use the same lawyer.
This is to ensure that the parties understand:
a) the advantages and disadvantages of making the agreement; and
b) what rights you give up, including the right to have a court decide on matters that are dealt with in the agreement.
So by getting proper legal advice, independent of the other party, the Act makes it near impossible to argue that you didn’t know what you were signing. The lawyers will also make inquiry that the parties are entering the agreement of their own free will and that neither is under pressure or duress to sign the agreement.
You basically have two options when it comes to obtaining the legal advice. You can:-
Most of the agreements that we see fit the requirements for the Fixed fee. Occasionally we see matters that are more complex and therefore require more consideration and time from the lawyer providing the advice.
The standard fee will not apply if an agreement is overly complex, incomplete or requires drafting by a solicitor.
Complicating matters may include intermingled business affairs which need to be dissected, or the involvement of extensive companies and/or trusts. In such cases, additional fees may apply, and if so, we will provide you with a fixed fee quote, before you decide whether to proceed.
In our experience, the set fee applies to most agreements.