Time limits typically apply to family law proceedings when it comes to property settlements. When separating from a partner, it helps to make a note of the separation date and advise it to your divorce lawyers before moving on with the court proceedings.
After a couple opting for divorce have acquired a divorce order to end their marriage, it’s important to understand that it doesn’t formally end their marriage, but rather starts a 12-month time limit between them. It allows both spouses enough time to resolve their financial matters like spousal maintenance and property settlement.
If they’re unable to commence court proceedings within that time limit, they could lose the right to do so and hence might not get what they’re entitled to under the Family Law Act of 1975.
Time Limits Vary for Divorce and Separation
There are different time limits for married couples and de facto couples. For example, if a pair is in a de facto relationship, then they have to finalise a property settlement after a separation of two years.
As we said earlier, the time limit for marriages is 12 months after a divorce, but if you happen to be outside those limitations, you need to convince the court that there could be hardship on you if they do not accept your application.
If you’re about to reach the 12th month after divorce or two years separation and have not divided the property between you and your partner, then you are strongly advised to seek legal advice. If you haven’t separated from your partner yet, you must ensure you advise your legal representatives For a relationship to end, it must have action, communication, and intention.
A property settlement application can be made either to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia or the Family Court of Australia. The married spouses have one year after a finalised divorce to bring forth a property settlement application.
Spouses can apply for an application outside those limits if the court permits them to do so. However, the parties need to prove that they would be facing hardship if they are prevented from making their claim from outside those time limits.
What Constitutes ‘Hardship’?
When it comes to defining hardships to the court, it has to be something more than a loss. The applicant needs to demonstrate to the court that they have a case that not only is worth pursuing but also gives them a true chance at succeeding in it.
To be eligible for a time extension, the applicants need to also give proper reasoning as to why they weren’t able to present their application before they ran out of time. Despite both spouses having either one or two years to agree to a property settlement, they both need to start the process right away.
‘Just and Equitable’
Sometimes, negotiating a property settlement can take time as both parties become entrenched in their positions, and seek to negotiate the best possible outcome they can for themselves. This is why seeking proper advice and representation is essential as often they will be able to help break any en passe which exists.
Ultimately, the agreement, whether it is one which is negotiated and agreed by the two parties along with their divorce lawyers, or it ends up in court, it must be seen to be ‘just and equitable’, with all circumstances considered.