Going through a separation or divorce can be an emotionally challenging and stressful time. One aspect that often requires careful consideration is the division of financial assets and property.
In Australia, couples have the option to create a Binding Financial Agreement (BFA), also known as a separation agreement, to document how their financial property should be divided. In this guide, we will explore the process of writing your own BFA without a lawyer, the benefits of using a template kit, and the importance of seeking legal advice before signing the agreement.
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Understanding a Binding Financial Agreement
A Binding Financial Agreement is a legally enforceable contract made between a couple (married or de facto) to outline how their financial assets, liabilities, and property will be divided in the event of a separation or divorce. It provides certainty and clarity for both parties involved and can help avoid costly legal disputes in the future.
Creating a Binding Separation Financial Agreement Without a Lawyer
While it is possible to write your own BFA without a lawyer, there are certain requirements that must be met for the agreement to be legally binding and enforceable. It is essential to include specific clauses and cover all relevant issues to protect your interests. However, without legal advice, the agreement may be deemed invalid by the court.
Using a High-Quality Template Kit
One way to write your own separation agreement without a lawyer is to utilise a high-quality Binding Financial Agreement template kit. These kits, such as the one offered by RP Emery & Associates, provide a basic framework that covers all the standard issues a separation agreement should address. The template can be tailored to your specific needs and circumstances.
The RP Emery kit is specifically drafted for Australia by Australian legal professionals, ensuring its compliance with the Family Law Act 1975. It includes instructions and a template agreement, making it easier for you to express your wishes and preferences succinctly.
The Benefits of Using a Template Kit
Cost and Time Savings
Traditionally, engaging a lawyer to draft a separation agreement can be a time-consuming and costly process. Multiple meetings and exchanges of information can quickly escalate the costs involved. However, by using a template kit, you can save both time and money. You and your partner can enter the required information directly into the template, eliminating the need for multiple face-to-face meetings.
A well-designed template kit, such as the one provided by RP Emery, covers all the essential aspects of a separation agreement. It includes assets and liabilities schedules for each partner, as well as joint property. This comprehensive coverage ensures that you address all the necessary details to create a robust agreement.
Legal Review Service
While using a template kit allows you to complete a bulk of the work yourself, it is crucial to seek legal advice before signing the agreement. RP Emery offers a Fixed Price Legal Review Service, where experienced family law experts review your draft agreement and provide the necessary legal advice and certification. This ensures that your agreement complies with the legislation and protects your interests.
The Process of Creating a Binding Financial Agreement
Now that we have explored the benefits of using a template kit, let’s delve into the step-by-step process of creating a Binding Financial Agreement.
- Download the Agreement Template Kit
- Add Your Information to the Template
- Submit Your Draft for Assessment
- Get the Required Legal Advice
- Sign the Agreement
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The Level of Protection Provided by a Template Agreement
It is natural to wonder whether a template agreement provides the same level of protection as an agreement drafted by a lawyer. While most separation agreements cover similar aspects, the level of protection and quality of the final agreement ultimately depend on the legal advice provided.
When using a template kit, the lawyer who reviews your draft is responsible for advising you on the agreement’s effect and identifying any deficiencies. Whether you start with a template or not, the expertise and guidance of a qualified legal professional are crucial in ensuring the agreement’s validity and enforceability.
RP Emery carefully selects their lawyers for the Fixed Price Legal Review Service, ensuring that they are experienced family law experts. These lawyers have advised numerous clients on their financial agreements and are well-versed in the requirements of the legislation.
Creating a Binding Financial Agreement, or separation agreement, can provide clarity and certainty during a separation or divorce. While it is possible to write your own agreement, seeking legal advice and using a high-quality template kit is highly recommended.
By following the step-by-step process outlined in this guide and utilising a template kit like the one offered by RP Emery, you can navigate the complexities of creating a Binding Financial Agreement more efficiently and cost-effectively. Remember, legal advice is crucial to ensure that your agreement is binding, fair, and protects your interests.