If you agree about property and money
Reaching an agreement with the other party offers many advantages, such as:
- you make your own decisions
- you greatly reduce the financial and emotional costs of legal proceedings
- your continuing relationship as parents, if you have children, is likely to work better
- you are able to move forward and make a new life for yourself
- you may improve communication with your former partner and be better able to resolve disputes in the future, and
- in order for the agreement to be binding, all parties are required to seek independent legal advice and all parties must sign the agreement.
Why settle without going to court?
It saves you time and money if you can reach agreement between yourselves. You also know exactly what each of you will get, whereas there is uncertainty waiting for a judicial officer to decide for you. Additionally, long court proceedings can increase stress and add to the pressure that you and your family are under. An agreement can be made at any stage of the relationship – before, during or at the end.
How you can formalise your agreement
You can agree on how your property should be divided without any court action. You do this through either:
- a financial agreement, or
- an agreement formalised by applying for consent orders in which you ask a court to make orders in the terms of your agreement.
Can the financial agreement be set aside?
If a court is satisfied, it can set aside an agreement if there was a change in the relationship circumstances that render the agreement, or part thereof, impractical, if it was obtained by fraud including non disclosure of relevant material or if the agreement is unenforceable or void. There are also other reasons why a court may set aside an agreement.
Financial agreements are complex. Always seek legal advice before entering any agreement or seek to set aside any existing agreement.