If a couple want to enter an agreement about how they will divide their property, the law requires them to follow a special procedure:
- The agreement must be in writing.
- Each partner must receive advice from a lawyer before signing.
- The lawyer must witness the partner sign the agreement.
- The lawyer must certify that he or she explained the effect and implications of the agreement to the partner.
The law requires people to follow this procedure so they know exactly what their rights are under the law and how the agreement might affect their rights.
There is a risk that people who enter agreements might unfairly give up their rights. They might not know what their legal rights are. Or they might fear that the relationship will end if they do not agree. Or, because they are in love, they might agree to things to please their partner.
But there needs to be a balance. The procedure may be too difficult for some people. Legal advice is expensive. Some people may struggle to afford to make agreements in the proper way.