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Peak body issues warning to non-family lawyers tempted to dabble in family law financial agreements

The Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee (LPLC) recently issued a warning to non-family lawyers dabbling in Financial Agreements under the Family Law Act. The LPLC said that there was a trend emerging in claims relating to such agreements where non-family lawyers were advising on Financial Agreements without understanding that they are required to advise on more than just the wording of the agreement.
In one claim, the LPLC described a situation in which a groom insisted that a bride sign a Financial Agreement in order for the wedding to go ahead. The Agreement had been prepared by a commercial practitioner recommended by the husband’s accountant and who the wife met for the first time two days before the wedding. The wife signed the Agreement on the morning of the wedding.
Following the breakdown of the marriage, the wife sought to have the Agreement set aside on the grounds of duress and a failure to receive adequate independent legal advice. She was successful as the advice provided to her by the commercial lawyer was found not to go far enough in providing an assessment of the rights that the wife would have had under the Family Law Act.
The full version of the LPLC blog in relation to this issue can be found here.
Binding Financial Agreements in family law are highly technical and must be made in accordance with the requirements set out in Pt VIIIA or Pt VIIIAB (as applicable) of the Family Law Act. The Act sets out specific requirements as to the matters in relation to which independent legal advice must be given. Properly discharging the duty to provide this advice requires detailed knowledge of family law and extends well beyond knowledge of the terms of the particular agreement in question.
Nicholes Family Lawyers have the required expertise in family law to prepare and advise in relation to Financial Agreements. Do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance in this regard.

By Nicholes Family Lawyers

 

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