Amicable Short Term De-Facto Relationship Split, BFA or Consent Orders?

Hey all,

I've unfortunately recently split from my partner (de-facto approx 3 years) and trying to find a cost effective way to agree on and ensure the asset split we've agreed on is legally binding and not going to cause issues or stress down the road etc.

I tried using a (paid) online financial agreement template/generator, then booked in an hour with a family lawyer who pretty much just laughed and told me its useless :(
The lawyer instead went through the shared assets, info etc and gave some advice. But quoted me around $5k to draft and finalise a legally binding BFA or Consent orders

Does this sound about right? Or is there a more cost effective way of going about this?

What we have agreed on as the asset split according to the lawyer is also more than what she believes my ex partner would get if we were to go to court/it get nasty too. So wondering if one is even worth doing one in that case?

Other notes:

  • Both amicable.
  • Both approx same age and able to work etc.
  • No children, no house (renting).
  • Seperated under one roof (renting, but in separate rooms).
  • I will give her most of the furniture/shared assets etc.
  • I have contributed more financially to the relationship during the 3 year defacto period.
  • We have contributed equally non-financially to the relationship during the 3 year defacto period.
  • I will be giving her about 1/4th of my own personal savings during the 3 year defacto period.
  • Agreed to not worry about super split.
  • I have a large-ish inheritance including a large sum of money and a shared property with 3 siblings (but the lawyer was adamant this wouldn't be included in the asset pool as we are short term etc.)

Thanks,

Comments

  • If it is amicable and both parties are reasonable, why not work it out between yourselves on paper first then get it done officially by a lawyer.

    If you have contributed more t the relationship, why are you giving her 25% of your savings? If your savings balance is $12.40 then thats fine to give her $3.10. But no more.

    People should not profit from a relationship / ending.

    • That's what I want to do, and it's gonna cost $5k apparently…

      I'm happy to lart with some of my savings to help her. She's doesn't have family in Aus so parting with some savings for some piece of mind and know she won't be struggling is what I want. Although granted I've probably offered too much after talking to the lawyer today.

      • I'm confused, your amicable, sit down together, write out your assets and figure out an agreed figure. Then bank transfer or change the name of assets etc… Do you Have to get the incompetent and grossly expensive government involved?

  • $5k is about right for a half decent BFA. It's worth it.

  • Like he says, why bother with a lawyer if the both of you are somewhat amicable, if it did get messy the inheritance and shared property wouldn't come into it any way.

    You don't have kids, you don't have assets, just pack up your stuff and walk away, it's the simplest thing to do.

    • Yeah, the idea of doing an asset split after 3 years with no kids and no shared assets is absolutely crazy to me, especially if its apparently amicable.

      Just walk away, like every other normal pair.

  • I can't comment on the price of the service, but you absolutely want a thick line drawn under the relationship in legal and financial terms. $5k might look very cheap in a few years.

    • Agreed. Look at it as insurance. If this flares up on you later, $5k will look like nothing.

  • I fail to see why you have any obligations, financial or otherwise, whatsoever to each other.

  • wasn't it all just simpler when people were either married or not married

  • It’s amicable until the other party catches a whiff of someone telling them they can go your inheritance… Then that $5,000 is going to seem pretty negligible at that point.

    • Yes I know of a couple that what started as a $1million agreement then becoming a $6million threat once the ambulance chaser caught wind, but then settling for $2.5million.

  • You didn't mention which online one you already tried, but if it wasn't this, take a look:
    https://amica.gov.au/
    It's designed for exactly your situation, though it has a few quirks.

    Also you said the lawyer you saw suggested your proposed asset split is more generous than what a court would order if you got nasty. So what? While it's very important to have a good understanding of your situation and how the court may view things, keep your eye on the prize. If you are amicable and just want to go your separate ways with minimal stress and cost plus legal certainty, don't sweat the small stuff. Make your own decisions that make you happy (or at least that you can both agree is fair) and sleep soundly. Don't let a lawyer talk you into muddying the process arguing about it which will cost big in time, money and emotion. If you decided to fight about it and you ended up walking away x years later with $x extra but having spent $x0,000k on lawyer fees and countless sleepless nights of it consuming your life, hating someone you used to love and being distrustful of future relationships, is that worth it?

    If amica doesn't suit, look for a different lawyer that does fixed price amicable consent order preparation. They exist and can be much cheaper than what you've been quoted so far. Here's one in Perth https://www.amicablefamilylaw.com.au/

    • I think you have it backwards, not having a legally binding agreement is what will cost you big in money, time and emotion, 6 months down the track when she wants more, or gets whiff she is entitled to more than she's agreed to while everything is friendly and amicable. I know people who have been through exactly that and it's not pretty. Get it done properly now, IMO

      • Perhaps I wasn't clear. I think a legally binding agreement (whether consent orders or BFA) = good.

        I am suggesting to proceed with obtaining consent orders from the family court, based on their amicable agreement on what they want to do. And in doing so 'not sweat the small stuff' by way of slight imbalance either way being ok if both parties think it's the right thing.
        I am also recommending to weigh very carefully the big picture risk/reward ratio of any lawyers proposal to push for 'more fair for me' which is likely to result in enormous time, money and emotional cost.

    • Thnks for the suggestion, but looks like Amica might not work as I own a 1/4th stake in our my family home, ssays in their faq the tool wont work for people with "the property pool includes property which is also owned by a third party." :(

  • She’s eyeing off that inheritance and will get some

    • Nah, apparently she's not entitled to any of it according to both lawyers I've spoken to already.

  • If it's amicable why are you giving away your money, especially if you earnt more?
    Surely just divide up the assets you've purchased together?
    3 years is really not that long in the scheme of things.
    Just my 2 cents

  • Aren't BFAs of more value if you arrange one before you break up? I didn't realise you could arrange them retrospectively post-breakup?

  • +13 votes

    You guys aren't even married. You don't own anything major together. And you've been together for only three years. Can't you just break up and say see you later.

    • We've been defacto for 3 years but together for almost 6. Defacto is considered to be similar to marriage when it comes to assets etc.

      • +6 votes

        If there is no large assets (house, car, caravan, boat etc) and no kids it shouldn't really make much difference. You're wasting money going through solicitors for a few pieces of furniture. Agree on an even split and go your separate ways. As someone who has been through a separation involving kids and a house you have it easy. Don't waste your money on formalising it!

    • In the law living together for >2 years is the same as marriage. It’s a hard lesson to learn.

  • Imagine drawing up a legal document and splitting assets after every failed relationship. People break up. Give them some furniture and the house plants and move on.

    Don't mean to be rude or insincere to your situation, but this just seems silly.

  • I'm a lawyer and do family law. Always consent orders, never a BFA. $5k is excessive. If it's real simple I would have quoted $1,500+GST and get you to do most of the work filling out the Form 11.

  • Since when is three years short term? If someone told me they were interested in a short term relationship I would not be expecting three years of my life.

    • Haha, you're considered de Facto after 2 years of living together, so 3 years is short term when talking about defacto 😂

  • Just remember, if it goes to court, you’re likely to lose 50% of everything regardless how much more you contributed. Part of the reason I never moved in with a partner until I knew I was proposing.

    Good luck, it’s a bloody minefield. I hope you achieve a fair outcome.

    • According to the lawyer I saw yesterday that's completely false. She said if it went to court she might be granted about 5 percent of my personal savings (excluding the inheritance) and some of my super and even that would be generous.

      • There may be something unique about your case, but a good mate went through a split after 2 years 3 months, and she took him to the cleaners. Personally I’d avoid court at all costs and find something everyone is happy with. I genuinely hope it turns out better for you!

        • Dang. Yeah there are lots of factors that come into play, I highly doubt your friends partner took 50 percent though. Maybe he just didn't want to give her anything at all, and taking him to the cleaners was simply a small percentage for her, but then also the court/lawyer fees would have added up? I dunno, from my discussion with the lawyer yesterday the 50 split never happens in situations like this (short term, no kids, no house etc.)

          • @SkMed: 50% no kids, 130k income vs her 30 odd. She was studying and working part time. The magistrate was a raging man hater and reamed him for half of EVERTHING. including a $100 shitbox and box trailer. Thank god he didn’t own a house, but did have a substantial deposit saved.

            Oh and to make it better, all of the household goods (beds, lounges etc) value was calculated and she was awarded half, with first dibs on if she’d take the item with her or leave it and take its cash value. Oh, the rental bond too, which he paid, she got half. He lost like 100k, maybe more. The court system is (profanity). Avoid avoid avoid. Unless you’re not male, and not the dominant breadwinner.

            I’m sure it would have been much worse had they had kids, god forbid.

            • @HelpMeiCantSee: Sorry to view this with such skepticism, but this sounds OTT for a 25 month relationship. I have close friends going through a divorce settlement after 17 years, with two kids, and he's getting 35%, so not much worse (%-wise) than your mate. I know another guy whose wife left him after 2 months of marriage, together for less than a year in total. He owned two properties, significant super and savings but as they were acquired prior to the relationship and maintained by him she was not entitled to a share of those assets.

              I can't see a reason why your mates ex would be entitled to anything he owned prior to or since the relationship. Claims of bias in the legal system ought to be reported and tested. If there's a pattern of this magistrate behaving irrationally to the detriment of the fair application justice, then the system will respond accordingly.

  • There's a new service called Amica.gov.au which sounds like it might be just perfect here. Both parties input their details, assets, liabilities and the proposed settlement. I believe it can then be submitted to court. Good luck!

  • its not likely to be amicable for ever, when she sees the hot blonde you date next the price could quickly escalate, find another lawyer and get it sorted asap.

  • I split up amicably with my wife, we transferred home/mortgage to her name because her family was all from usa and I felt i was leaving her high and dry. We went through a family court with one lawyer that she paid for, court order meant no stamp duty was payable. I'm on disability support and she has secure job. Once she had the house signed over she said she didn't need to be nice to me anymore, and within a year she sold the house and married someone else and cut me off 100%. I did get $10k after house sale (without stress or argument or fight!!) , but must say I felt pretty hurt and shafted when she sold the house. But that is how we both probably felt (asset-wise for me, emotionally for her?), but I wished I'd kept the house somehow, as on DSP it's impossible to buy a house. Now 15 years have passed and I have a house/ mortgage again after super stress and with much family help! Just remember things are only amicable up till the point where she needs your cooperation!!! I feel I had spend $50k+ on our wedding, honeymoon, move to Australia, immigration costs,… and she kept invested money on USA accounts too, so I think she did pretty well. I guess I assumed we would remain friendly somehow…

  • And this thread ladies and gentleman is why you keep your finances separate in a relationship except for one joint account which you transfer an equal amount to for bills. Western countries are all geared towards screwing the man over. Don't be nice, hide your assets, and get a scummy lawyer ASAP.

    • Bloody hell haha. We had a joint account and separate finances. Doesn't make a lick of difference. Assets are combined into a pool.

      • I have contributed more financially to the relationship during the 3 year defacto period.

        This doesn't sound like your finances were split if you contributed more. When I say split, I mean each person manages their own $ and each person contributes exactly 50%.

        Assets she knows about are combined into a pool.

        FTFY

        It's brutal, but it's the reality of it. You're in a much simpler situation than other people, but if you go into this with the mentality of beings friend, then you're going to get cleaned. Just remember, the courts NOT on your side, they're on her side.

    • And this thread ladies and gentleman is why you keep your finances separate in a relationship except for one joint account

      50% of account A + 50% of account B = 50% of (Account A + Account B).

      It makes no difference if there's a split - unless you're hide something!

      • That's the problem. OP clearly earns more in the relationship and she shouldn't be entitled to half of OPs money. That would put her ahead and OP behind. So yes, it does make a difference.

        • When you split, you don't just split the joint account. You often split the total pool of assets, including your separate accounts.

          • @bobbified: Which is exactly why I'm suggesting to hide assets. Why does she deserve half his savings account that she made no contribution in earning?

            • @nurries: Normally courts take a pretty dim view of asset hiding. Just the act of asset hiding in itself normally gets you the shaft. Just be honest and you'll be fine.

              • @Zephyrus: No, you won't be fine, you'll lose half your shit to someone who doesn't deserve it. They can't ping you for asset hiding if they don't know about it. The only way they go searching for assets is if your partner provides enough evidence to support their suspicion.

  • Hi mate
    I have recently been in almost exactly the same situation as you, living together post split and all.
    Please heed this advice: It starts amicable, but can VERY quickly become not so.
    My recommendation is to seriously protect yourself, I got completely burnt financially (by someone who I'd never expect to turn nasty/was capable of it).
    Wishing you luck, protect ya neck.

  • why is getting a divorce so expensive ?

    Because it's worth it.

  • Does living together mean you're basically married? Why do you have to give her any money at all? You're both working you're both equal right? So 50/50?

    Unless you're both not equal.