How much time do I have?
The Family Law Act specifies time limits in which you or your former partner can make an application to the court.
Applying for a Divorce
In order to apply for a divorce you must have been separated for at least 12 months.
If however you have been married for less than two years the court requires that you attend counselling and receive a Certificate before you apply for divorce.
If you are Divorced
If you are divorced you must file an application for a property settlement within 12 months of the date that your divorce was finalised (you can find this date on your divorce order). If you are not yet legally divorced than the clock for property settlement has not started ticking and you can apply for a property settlement at any time.
If you take longer than the 12 months to apply for a property settlement you will need to apply to the court for leave to begin the proceedings out of time – this is not always a guarantee, but the factors the court will consider include whether or not there is an ongoing financial relationship or reliance between yourself and your former partner, whether you continue to have joint property and whether there is an adequate reason for not beginning your settlement within the 12 month time frame.
If you wish to apply for a property settlement or you would like to apply for a property settlement out of time please contact FGD today.
If you were in a De facto relationship
If you were in a de facto relationship and wish to apply for a property settlement you must make an application to the court within 2 years of your relationship breaking down. The exact date of the breakdown of your relationship can often be hard to determine, so you if you and your former partner can agree in writing as to when this was or you have kept a record of the day that you separated this can be helpful in determining when the 2 year period to apply to the court began.
These time periods can be pretty confusing so if you have any questions at all regarding a property settlement with your former partner, contact FGD to chat to a solicitor. It is never too early to begin discussions with your former partner about a settlement, the worry is being too late!