04 Nov Family Law Q&A
What is the time limit for Family Law property settlements?
When discussing family law property settlements many clients are unsure if they need to be divorced before they can have their property settlement and whether there are time limits to finalise their property settlement.
Firstly, a divorce is a separate process to a property settlement and brings about the end of the marriage only. It does not affect your division of assets post separation, other than to start the time frame in which you have to resolve your property settlement or initiate proceedings in relation to it.
If you wish to file for divorce you must wait 12 months from the date of separation to do so.
However, you can and should commence negotiating your property division from the time of separation onwards, there is no need to wait for your divorce.
Once a divorce is granted, a time limitation starts to tick. You must resolve your property settlement with Consent Orders, or commence Court proceedings if settlement cannot be achieved, within 12 months of your divorce.
If you were in a de facto relationship you have 2 years from the date the relationship ended to settle your property or commence proceedings.
If you do not resolve by consent or commence court proceedings within the above relevant time frames, the leave of the court will need to be sought before a court will hear your application.
Be aware that it is open to the court to refuse to hear your matter on the basis that it was not commenced in time, so it is important that your matter is resolved or commenced within the relevant time frame.
If the court refuses to grant leave for you to commence proceeding out of time, then each item of property will remain owned as registered. Everything remains as is and no division is available.
This can bring about a result that will disadvantage one party and may be highly undesirable.
Are you in the middle of a separation? Do you have queries relating to your property settlement? Speak with one of our family Law specialists on 8525 2700 or click here to request your free 30 minute consultation.