Family Law Library

Russian bride has Binding Financial Agreement set aside

A man met a lady from Russia. He travelled to Russia, married her and brought her back to Australia. The relationship was the only reason for the lady to be in Australia. The parties entered into a Binding Financial Agreement on return to Australia. No copy was given to the wife, the agreement took away many of the entitlements Australian family law would have provided to her. She claimed she signed the agreement when she was under physical, mental and emotional stress from her husband. Despite obtaining independent legal advice prior to the agreement who had correctly told her the agreement was likely to disadvantage her if she signed it, she signed it in any case, the Federal Magistrate concluded the husband’s actions could be recognised as causing duress and were enough to be regarded as unconscionable conduct which allowed for the agreement to be set aside. The Magistrate also noted that the failure to give his wife a copy of the agreement was a breach of the legislation.