Family Care Agreements

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Love and the law, so it is said, do not make good bedfellows.

Documenting, in a written agreement, a loving, caring or supportive personal relationship, for example, is probably anathema to many Australians.

Australian Family Law however, is now challenging this cultural aversion by its recent acknowledgement of, and legislative support for, Financial Agreements between spouses in the form of Prenuptial agreements and, more particularly, Cohabitation Agreements, namely, arrangements regulating the financial relationships between perfectly happy spouses. Even in the area of defacto relationships, Queensland has also created a mirror regime of financial agreements.

This article is not about Family Law, however, but rather, the Law of Families.
It relates to the age old social duty of families caring for older or infirmed members within the family unit and:

♦ Whether we, as members of a family and as a community, can afford to continue to assign this issue to the subterranean ethos of uncompensated love and duty; and
♦ Whether it deserves to be recognised in the form of a formalised agreement that both addresses the contingencies of such care and adequately compensates those who provide the care; and
♦ Whether, in light of our demographic destiny, we really have any choice.

Brian Herd
Carne Reidy Herd Lawyers

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