a lawyer's nightmare being sued in the family court.
Last year I represented a wife in a hard fought case about a binding financial agreement. The husband's former lawyers prepared the agreement and the wife signed it after speaking to her former lawyer.
Many years later the parties separated. The terms of the agreement only gave the wife a tiny share of several million dollars worth of assets they had built up together. I prepared a case arguing that the agreement was invalid for a host of reasons including that the wife's former lawyers failed to provide the advice that the law required of them and that important parts of the agreement were too vague to be enforceable.
Both the wife and the husband brought their former lawyers to the Family Court, each alleging negligence and seeking compensation. The former lawyers argued that the Family Court didn't have jurisdiction to decide negligence claims against them. The parties settled the case so the issue remained unresolved. But on 22 May this year, Justice Murphy ruled that the Family Court could decide a wife's negligence claim against her former solicitors over an invalid financial agreement.
The decision turned on the question of whether there were any common both the negligence claim and the claim that the agreement was invalid.
If you want to read the decision Ruane & Bachmann Ruane and ors. click this link: The case serves as a warning of the perils to parties and their lawyers of preparing agreements without a thorough understanding and observance of strict legal requirements.
For reliable expert advice and assistance about prenuptial agreements, cohabitation agreements, separation agreements and other forms of financial agreements, consult an experienced divorce and property settlement lawyer. Stephen Rees from Reeslaw. Accredited Family Law Specialist.
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.