5 THINGS THE CONTESTANTS SHOULD HAVE DONE IF THE MARRIAGES WERE
I'm sure most of you have seen the ads about the television
series, "Married at First Sight". Although the TV show
was a "social experiment" and the marriages were not
legal marriages, it raises an interesting question about things the
contestants should have considered and discussed if they were
entering into a legal marriage. Some of those are:
Set a Joint life Plan
Before committing to a marriage, couples should first agree on
what they want that marriage to look like. It is important to be on
the same page about major long term issues such as:
Children – Do you want them? If so, how many do you want?
When do you want to start your family? Are you open to other
avenues if you can't have children naturally?
Where do you want to live? It is important to consider where
your families, friends and support networks are based and decide
whether you want to be close to those networks. Also consider where
your jobs are based and whether that is likely to change in the
future. If you want kids, where would you want them to go to
school? Once you have made a decision about where you would like to
live reality test it
Religion – it is important for you? If so, and if you
want children, what religion will you raise your children?
Agree on how to pay for your life
Will you both work? Will you share your income and expenses
equally or will you separate them? Will you have joint bank
accounts or separate bank accounts? How will you pay the bills?
What if one of you is out of work or takes time off to raise
children? What is your plan for affording that?
Agree on what roles you will each fulfil in the
As mundane as it sounds, it is important to decide on the
division of labour for household chores (both inside and outside of
the home). Think about your strengths and weaknesses, your working
hours and what is viable for each of you. By being open and upfront
about what tasks each of you will manage you should be able to
avoid resentment, and the best bit is once the chores are done
– there's more time for play!
Agree on what will happen to your current assets &
What are the assets and debts you each have at the beginning of
the relationship? Who will be responsible for payment of the debts?
Who will be responsible for the ongoing costs of any assets? (like
housing costs etc). Will you continue to own assets and liabilities
separately or do you want to accumulate property in joint names?
Will you own any jointly acquired property equally, or will you own
it in the proportion you each contribute? What if you get an
inheritance during the marriage, will that be applied for your
joint benefit or will it be kept separate from your joint
Agree on what will happen if you separate
How will you divide your assets and liabilities if you separate?
If there are children, who will be responsible for their care? How
will you both jointly fund the care of your children after
separation? If you received an inheritance during your marriage,
how will it be divided if you separate? What about your
superannuation, will you divide that or will you each keep your
The good news is that once couples have sat down, discussed and
agreed on all of the above, they can enter into a Binding Financial
Agreement ("an Agreement"), which sets out the
"Rules" for their marriage and what will happen if they
separate. Having an Agreement in place means that both parties have
a clear understanding at the time of entering into their marriage
of what will happen during the marriage and how each person will be
supported if they separate, this takes a lot of the pressure off
and lets the couples focus on their relationship.
Agreements can also be entered into between de facto and same
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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