Strict time limits apply when applying for a property settlement. At Waller Family Lawyers, we understand that divorce or separation can be sensitive and stressful, and staying on top of all legal requirements and deadlines can be challenging.
This blog discusses the time limits, what happens if you miss them, and how our property settlement lawyers in Brisbane can help you through the process to obtain what’s rightfully yours.
What are the property settlement time limits after divorce or separation?
Property settlement is the legal division of assets between spouses after a divorce or separation. The Family Law Act outlines specific time limits for married and de facto couples:
- Married couples have 12 months from the date of your final divorce order to reach a just and equitable property settlement
- De facto couples have two years from the date of separation.
We understand that confirming this separation date can be tricky, especially if you continued to live together (separated under one roof) or briefly reconciled. However, it’s crucial to the property settlement process that you record this date.
It’s important to note that you do not need to wait until the Court grants your divorce order to begin property settlement proceedings. You can begin your negotiations with your former spouse and agree on a property division and have the agreement recorded by court order any time after separation.
What happens if I miss the deadline?
If you were not able to commence or finalise your property settlement on time, the Court might still permit you to apply in certain circumstances. However, these applications can be lengthy, stressful and expensive, especially without professional support.
You must prove to the Court that failure to provide approval would cause significant hardship – a term that remains undefined and determined by the Court on a case-by-case basis. Factors that may influence their final decision include:
- The reason for missing the deadline
- The likelihood of a successful application
- How much the property settlement proceedings will likely cost
- Whether there is any risk of prejudice to the other party if the application is approved.
Are there any cases where these time limits don’t apply?
If you and your spouse have a Binding Financial Agreement (a Prenup), the assets referred to in the Prenup will be protected from a property settlement and the above time limits will not apply.
Interim property orders
Depending on your situation, the Court can make interim or temporary property orders while you wait for them to finalise the property settlement. Interim orders include:
- Sole occupancy order – when one spouse wants to stay in the family home without the other
- Urgent injunction – where one party restricts or blocks the other from selling any assets or ‘freezing’ money (either in their bank account or an insurance or superannuation pay-out)
- Periodic spousal maintenance – when one spouse requires financial support from the other until a final property settlement is reached.
Trusted legal advice tailored to your case
Family Law is highly complex and nuanced, so we strongly recommend you seek legal advice before agreeing to any financial agreements or commencing property settlement proceedings.
Our property settlement lawyers in Brisbane have a wealth of experience in all Family Law matters. We know how to navigate divorce, separation, property division and more with compassion and due diligence. In addition, we offer affordable, fixed-fee consultations with no time limit to discuss your situation in-depth and provide tailored strategies moving forward.
Ensure you receive what you’re entitled to – Reach out to Waller Family Lawyers today.