Time Limits for Property Settlements
Separation can be a difficult and emotional time. Time limits are often the furthest thing from my client’s minds, however it is important to note that under the Family Law Act, time limits apply for bringing an application to the Court for property settlements. These time limits apply to both married and de facto couples.
How soon after separation can the parties arrange a property settlement?
You and your former spouse can begin negotiations about dividing property as soon as you have separated. Bearing in mind that separation can be a difficult and emotional time and it may take some people longer than others to be ready to discuss the nature of parenting and property arrangements following separation.
There are several ways of recording a property settlement, if you have questions about property settlements, visit our blog post ‘what does the court consider in property settlements’ or contact one of our solicitors on 1300 444 592.
What are the time limits for Married Couples?
For married couples who have separated, it is important to note that once a divorce order has taken effect, you have 12 months to file an application for a property settlement.
It is important to note that the ‘clock doesn’t start ticking’ on the 12-month time limit until the divorce order has taken effect.
What are the time limits for De Facto Couples?
If you have been in a de facto relationship and have separated, under the Family Law Act you have two years following separation to file an application for a property settlement.
In some circumstances the date for separation can be clear cut, in other circumstances it may not. For example, where parties may have had periods of time where they have reconciled, or where they have continued to live under the same roof. You should chat to your solicitor if you are unsure about when the ‘clock starts ticking’ for your property settlement.
What happens if I missed the deadline?
In all the stress and emotion of separating from your former spouse, there are times when the deadline to file an application for a property settlement are missed. Don’t stress just yet.
Under the Family Law Act the court can grant leave to file an application for a property settlement out of time, however the court must be satisfied that hardship would be caused to the party or a child of the relationship if leave were not granted.
Hardship is not strictly defined under the Family Law Act and is considered on a case by case basis. It is important to not that missing the deadline to file an application for a property settlement is not in and of itself sufficient to constitute hardship.