The circumstances surrounding husbands and wives separating, including their living arrangements, finances and parenting arrangements, can be complicated and an incredibly psychological and mental experience for all involved. Sometimes, parties live separately and apart under the one roof after separation or might even reconcile before finally separating.
You can apply to the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court for orders for property settlement, and this may be done at any time. However, the Family Law Act sets a time restriction of 12 months after your divorce for you to apply for a property settlement.
It is desirable for separating couples to try and reach agreement regarding the division of their assets. The rules adopted by the Judges of the Family Court require parties to make a genuine effort to reach agreement, and parties are required to exchange relevant information and attempt to reach an agreement before commencing court proceedings.
Whether or not agreement can be reached, the rules governing the division of assets are complex, and you should seek legal advice before making a final decision.
In some Family Law cases separated parties may negotiate and reach agreement in relation to how they would like to finalise property matters between them, often with the assistance of lawyers. In other cases, separated parties cannot reach an agreement and turn to the court to resolve their matter.
Married parties who have separated may achieve a property settlement with their former spouse, even if they are not divorced. Similarly, parties who have divorced may also achieve a property settlement with their former spouse.
If divorced parties reach agreement in relation to the terms of a property settlement, we may advise them to apply for Consent Orders to be made by the Family Court to implement and finalise their agreement. In other cases, your family lawyer may advise you to enter into an Agreement to give effect to their property settlement.
In more contentious cases, divorced parties may be unable to reach agreement and decide to issue Court proceedings to achieve a property settlement. In those cases, the divorced parties must issue those Court proceedings within twelve months of a divorce order being made.