It is no secret to anyone involved in the legal industry that family court is an expensive method to resolve the issues arising from separation. Frankly, it can hemorrhage a family financially. 

One way to avoid huge court costs is to engage in the negotiation of a separation agreement.  This enables you to keep your dispute private, and out of court.  While some believe they can draft their own agreement, it is not always wise to do so.  If a dispute arises in future about the terms of your home made agreement, the courts may toss your agreement aside, declaring it invalid.  

A legally binding agreement must meet the following criteria:

  1. You must make full disclosure of your income, expenses, assets, debts and any other information that is relevant to your agreement.
  2. Don’t take advantage of the other party’s weaknesses or ignorance to get a good deal for yourself.
  3. Don’t pressure someone into signing the agreement, using the children or finances as a means to control their decision to sign. It must be entered into voluntarily.

Make the decision to obtain independent legal advice prior to signing the agreement.  In this way, you have evidence that each of you understood the agreement and the consequences of signing it. 

Written by Anna Preston, a lawyer at Galbraith Family Law. Here is Anna’s profile. To book a consultation with Anna, please go to our website.