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YOU HAVE AN AGREEMENT, DO YOU NEED A LAWYER?

20.06.2019

You don’t need a lawyer if you agree on a property settlement

It’s a common misconception in family law that you only need a lawyer to argue about complex matters in Court when people cannot agree. Although this does occur, these matters are in the minority. An overwhelming majority of family law matters are settled by negotiation and agreement with the assistance of lawyers.

But what if you’ve already reached an agreement?

Even if you have already come to an informal or verbal agreement, about your property interests after separation, you still may need a lawyer. Your lawyer can advise you how your informal agreement will affect your rights and responsibilities relevant to your circumstances. Your lawyer can also advise you on the best way to formalise your agreement, usually by either a Financial Agreement or Consent Order.

But we don’t have property to distribute, we don’t need an agreement

Even if you don’t own much property, you may still need a formalised agreement. Formalised agreements can protect you against your ex’s debts or from any future claims from your ex.

Why have a written agreement if we know what we want to do?

It is very important to formalise any agreement in writing. This can be because of protection against debts, or so that property can be transferred correctly when you go to the land titles office. Your lawyer can tell you about all the benefits under the Family Law Act and make sure you receive them all depending on your circumstances.

There are significant commercial benefits for having a formalised Consent Order as opposed to an agreement between yourselves. Your lawyer will be able to tell you about the benefits for each type of legally binding written agreement.

We know what we want to do, so we can just write it ourselves

If only it were as simple as writing ‘Jack keeps House A and Jill keeps House B’. Your lawyer will draft the agreement to help formalise your agreement so that the Court, the bank, the super fund and the land titles office will accept them so your agreement can actually do what it says it will do.

Depending on how you wish to formalise your agreement, it may be mandatory to seek legal advice before you sign documents. This safety net is embedded into the process to (hopefully) pick up any mistakes that people make when drafting their own documents and to check that everyone is getting a fair deal. Whilst this is very helpful, the safest approach is to have a lawyer draft your documents for you who knows your matter inside and out.

Our family law team at Keir Steele Lawyers are able to give you all the advice you need on property settlements. If you have any questions about formalising an agreement you have reached with your ex, please contact our team today to set up a confidential consultation.

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