When Fidan Shevket started dating her boyfriend, she wouldn’t let him leave a toothbrush at her Sydney apartment. She was worried it could be used as evidence of a de facto relationship, which could give him claim to part of her home if they ever broke up.
“If we're ever going to move in together, if we're ever going to get married, if we're ever going to do anything to make this relationship go to the next level - then I absolutely want a [prenup],” Fidan tells Insight’s Jenny Brockie.
Fidan has been a family lawyer for 15 years and has seen how bitter break-ups can get, especially when it comes to the division of assets. So, after two and a half years with her boyfriend, she is writing up what she calls “the greatest [prenup] ever drafted.”
When Kathy Robinson met her now husband, Cam Robinson, money was tight. She had four children and had just come out of a difficult break-up. She was left with the family home, a big mortgage and a little in the way of savings.
Cam, who was single with no children and owned multiple properties, had far more in assets than Kathy – so a discussion about getting a prenup arose early in the relationship. But the couple quickly decided it wasn’t for them.
“Going into a relationship you have to have trust,” Kathy says. “If you can’t trust your partner, then who can you trust really?”
Family lawyer, Jodylee Bartal, writes prenups for her clients and says they are no longer just the domain of the rich and famous.
But often certain clauses she gets asked to include in a prenup aren’t legally binding, and putting too much detail into prenups can increase the risk of the Family Court voiding the agreement.
Family lawyer, Kasey Fox, recently signed a prenup with her fiancé, Travis Godde. They decided against putting this kind of detail into their agreement.
“I actually think it can be dangerous to put too much of that detail in about what's going to happen during the relationship, because the whole idea of one of these agreements is that they only come into effect if you separate,” she says.
For all of Fidan’s efforts, her boyfriend has not yet signed the prenup.
“If he doesn't sign, I've been very clear on this: if he doesn't sign it there's big trouble, meaning the relationship will probably come to an end – almost definitely, it will come to an end.”
Insight explores who’s getting prenups, and how binding are they? To Have and Withhold, Tuesday September 11, 8.30pm on SBS and SBS On Demand.
Presenter: Jenny Brockie Follow @JenBrockie
Producer: Amanda Xiberras Follow @AmandaXiberras
Associate Producer: Madeleine King Follow @MadeleineAKing
Cadet: Jess Washington Follow @JesWashington