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Family & Relationship Law 06 November 2019

Divorce and property – the clock is ticking!

Let’s be clear – divorce and property settlement are two different processes. Pursuant to the Family & Relationship Law Act 1975 (Cth) , divorce is the process to formally end your marriage, and property settlement is a finalisation of your joint financial affairs.

One does not guarantee the other.

Importantly, both processes have time limits that you need to keep in mind when your relationship breaks down.


After a period of at least 12 months after separation, you are generally eligible to file an application for a divorce order.

We are pleased to offer an online divorce service.

For more information about divorce and our online service head to our divorce page.

Property settlement

You have 12 months from the date of your divorce order becoming final to make an application seeking a property settlement.

For de-facto relationships, you have two years from the date of separation to file an application seeking a property settlement.

What if I’m out of time for property settlement?

If the time periods have lapsed, it is still possible to make an application for a property settlement. You must be able to satisfy the Court that there will be “significant hardship” suffered by you if you were not allowed to do so.  However there is no guarantee that the Court will give you permission to make such an application.

How do I avoid running out of time?

To avoid “timing out”, generally you should begin the process of finalising your financial affairs before applying for a divorce order.

We recommend seeking immediate legal advice when your relationship breaks down as to how to best to finalise your financial affairs.  At Coulter Legal, we offer a no cost 30 minute initial consultation to discuss your situation with an experienced family lawyer.  The initial consultation provides an opportunity to gain an informed understanding of your matter and the necessary steps to achieve a resolution.

If you require any further advice or any further information on the matters discussed in this article, please contact our Family & Relationship Law team on (03) 5273 5273.

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