Strict time limits apply to formalising property settlement matters, whether you have been in a de facto relationship or if you were married.

Parties may formalise their property settlement by consent at any time in a financial agreement.

If parties wish to record their settlement in a consent order, or a party wishes to commence property settlement proceedings, the following time limits apply:

  • If the parties were married:
    • but not divorced, there is no time limit to be concerned about
    • and have been divorced, then any application for property settlement or an application for consent orders must be filed within 12 months from the date of divorce
    • and have been separated for more than 12 months from the date of divorce, the parties will require leave of the court to proceed with their property settlement, even where the application is made by consent.
  • If the parties were in a de facto relationship:
    • you must file your application for property adjustment orders or an application for consent orders within two years of the date of separation
    • and have been separated for more than two years, you will need to apply for leave of the court to be able to proceed with an application for property adjustment orders, even where the application is made by consent.

Time limits for de facto relationships can be confusing, as parties often disagree about when their de facto relationship commenced and ended. For example, you might believe you have been separated from your former de facto partner for more than two years; whereas they believe the separation is much more recent. These timing differences can affect the orders you need to seek to obtain a property settlement.

If the time limit for commencing property proceedings expires and you have not commenced proceedings or finalised matters by consent, it can have a significant impact on your ability to pursue a property settlement. We encourage you to obtain legal advice about how any time limits may apply to your individual circumstances, so you know when and what you need to do to protect your entitlements.