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The New STD – Sexually Transmitted Debt

Embarking on a life together is a monumental leap, filled with discussions of colour palettes and dreams wrapped in a love bubble. However, amidst the ‘us’ phase, it’s vital to pause and consider the ‘you’ aspect. The decisions you make now, such as merging bank accounts or co-signing loans, might seem practical for managing joint finances. Still, they could inadvertently pave the way for complex issues if the relationship doesn’t last. It’s an uncomfortable thought, but when assets are in play, it’s wiser to be prepared than regretful.

Enter the financial societal phenomenon known as sexually transmitted debt. It’s a growing concern and manifests in several ways:

  1. Accepting a Debt: You might find yourself taking on a debt or liability due to the emotional bond in your relationship, something you wouldn’t have considered otherwise.
  2. Unaware of Partner’s Debt: Lack of full awareness about your partner’s financial obligations can leave you unexpectedly liable due to intertwined financial lives.
  3. Abandoned Commitments: If your partner ceases to contribute to shared debts, you could be left to shoulder the financial responsibilities alone.

And the trend is on the rise.

The Genesis of Sexually Transmitted Debt

Debt doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all route from one partner to another, but certain common factors play a significant role:

  1. De Facto Relationships: Many fall into such relationships without fully understanding the legal implications. The Family Law Act’s S 4AA considers the relationship’s duration, financial interdependence, child care, and shared life commitment when determining a de facto relationship. This status, inclusive of same-sex relationships, carries legal weight similar to marriage.
  2. Pre-existing Assets and Debts: Complications often arise when there’s an imbalance in assets or income between partners. You might end up covering more expenses and even your partner’s debts. Regardless of intentions, a relationship’s end could mean a continued financial obligation to your ex-partner, especially if they’re deemed unable to support themselves.

Shielding Yourself with Binding Financial Agreements

Frequently, ex-de facto couples find themselves navigating the murky waters of asset and liability division in Family Law Courts for a fair outcome. Yet, there’s a proactive approach to circumvent this scenario—Binding Financial Agreements (BFAs).

Often misconceived as merely prenuptial agreements, BFAs are legally binding documents that outline the division of property and financial resources should the relationship dissolve. They offer a path to protect both partners’ interests without courtroom battles.

Here’s the lowdown:

  • Timing Flexibility: BFAs can be established before, during, or after a relationship.
  • Spousal Maintenance Clarity: The agreements address potential spousal maintenance issues.
  • Asset Protection: They’re an effective way to shield your business, investments, and property.
  • Children’s Financial Security: BFAs also safeguard the financial interests of children, whether from the current relationship or previous ones.
  • Peace of Mind: Ensuring that both you and your partner’s interests are secured offers tranquility beyond the love bubble.

Moving in together signifies a new chapter, filled with shared dreams and responsibilities. Yet, in the whirlwind of romance, it’s crucial to ground yourself in the reality of financial well-being. Embracing the concept of sexually transmitted debt and considering a Binding Financial Agreement could be your best strategy for ensuring that love doesn’t cost more than you bargained for.

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