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What happens in Financial Agreements when one person earns more than another, or one puts more into household expenses?

My partner and I will share all of our household and living expenses but he earns far more than I do. Does the agreement have to state our expenses are to be divided evenly?

Answer: No, it is probably better to say that until such time as you become pregnant or a mother and unable to work, your contribution to expenses should be in proportion to your earnings – if he earns twice as much he puts in twice as much, unless he is supporting kids from a prior relationship, for example, in which case you might say he puts in four dollars to your three or something similar or you can just leave it as “in proportion to earnings” so that if either of you become unemployed, the other does the providing.

How much detail is needed when we fill out the Schedules – Asset and Liability Statements. I don’t feel comfortable about listing all my private banking details.

Answer: Financial agreements can be set aside for fraud (which essentially means non-disclosure of something that matters). Full and frank disclosure is fundamental if an agreement is to survive a legal challenge.

When you document your assets, mention how long you‘ve had them, who paid for them (or if both parties paid, then in what proportions). If you can‘t agree on the value, try at least to agree on how the value might be arbitrated. Putting a value on an asset is tricky and your agreement should say how the value of assets will be worked out if actual values are not specified.

For real property, provide title particulars. Addresses, folio numbers or other identifiers to facilitate clear identification and transfer of property. If the parties have agreed on a value for the property this can be included in a schedule.

If there are mortgages over real estate include details of the mortgagee, the reference to title to the mortgage and any particular terms which may be necessary for an understanding of the financial position of the relevant spouse party.

Market value, purchase price, insurance or replacement values may be appropriate for particular types of property, such as cars but probably not for shares or land. For land, valuation may be by a specified person such as an agreed real estate agent or accountant, shares and managed funds may be valued at a certain date or at an average over a certain period, say three years.

For bank accounts there is no need to disclose all details but you should provide enough so that the account can be identified eg Name of Institution, Type of account, location of branch and the last few digits of the account number.

For household effects you don’t need to list everything to the nth degree, a total is fine. That being said if you do own items that have sentimental or high value that you want to allocate to either party then list those specifically.

If there are companies involved where one or both of the parties are members and/or actively involved, the optional recital referred to previously should set out details of the companies, including the company names, the names of the directors, and  the ACN (or ABN) of each of the companies.

A solicitor can only advise you properly if accurate financial information is available. Full disclosure of your earnings, assets and liabilities is the best way to ensure you receive accurate legal advice to minimise the risk to you of a future claim.

If you choose not to disclose certain facts, the other party can always challenge the agreement in which case the Family Court may intervene and completely overturn it.

Instructions for completing the Schedules

Particulars of the assets and financial circumstances of each of the parties as well as assets already owned jointly by the parties should be set out in separate schedules.We have provided sample Shedules below.

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Important – Required Legal Advice

Financial Agreements only become Legally Binding when each party has received Certified Independent Legal Advice - Click Here for More Information

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