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Family forum: Signing a pre-nup

Will it cost the farm?

QUESTION:

My partner and I have been living together for nearly three years. We also have a 6-month-old son. His family owns a farm and his mum won’t sign it over unless there is something stating that I can’t take the farm if anything were to happen between my partner and I.

His lawyer has told him the only way to sign a prenup is if we split up for six months, then get back together. We really don’t want to do this, however if we don’t his siblings can take everything once their mother passes.

Is there anything else we can do?

ANSWER:

There is no requirement that parties live apart for six months in order to execute a prenuptial agreement, more correctly known as a Binding Financial Agreement.

It would seem you have been misinformed on this issue.

Such agreements can be entered into by married persons as well as de facto couples or same sex partners.

They can be entered before or during or after a relationship or marriage.

It is possible that the agreement will provide for you to receive little or nothing in respect of the farm even if you live and work there for many years. This could be severely to your disadvantage. On the other hand, you might suggest that the agreement provide for an amount or a percentage to be paid to you after an agreed period of time so that you receive something should the relationship end.

You should give serious consideration to the terms of such an agreement before signing.

For such agreements to have binding effect it will be necessary for each party to consult a different solicitor. It is recommended that you seek advice from a solicitor prior to reaching any agreement and certainly before executing any documents.

If this becomes an ongoing relationship issue, you may need to access to counselling either as an individual, couple or family.

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Family Forum is a panel of general practitioners, medical specialists, lawyers, therapeutic and financial counsellors to discuss each letter before the appropriate professional answers it. The panel is appointed by Relationships Australia SA.

Have you got a question you’d like us to tackle?

Fill out the form below or send questions to Family Forum, The Advertiser, 31 Waymouth St, Adelaide 5000.

We treat communications in strict confidence except when the law demands otherwise, as in child abuse.

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