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As we are coming up to the Christmas and festive break it is important to perhaps remember that in family law, there are a few time limits that are important for parties to be aware of and not to lose sight of.

We summarise below the most important time limits that can apply in family law matters: –

  • You cannot get divorced until you have been living separately and apart for a period of 12 months;
  • Once you obtain your divorce, you then only have 12 months after that date to institute proceedings for property settlement and/or spousal maintenance – if you miss this time limit then you will need leave of the Court to file for property and / or spousal maintenance relief (this applies equally for de facto as it does for married couples);
  • If you are in a de facto relationship you only have two years from the date of separation to file for property settlement and / or spousal maintenance – clients should be very aware of when they actually separated and make detailed notes surrounding the separation date and what occurred that lead to the separation on that particular date; and
  • You have to be in a de facto relationship for 2 years or more to be able to file for financial relief after separation. There are exceptions to this, including factors such as whether there is a child of the relationship or whether a party has made a substantial contribution to the other one’s property, but generally, if a de facto relationship is less than 2 years in duration then there may not be rights to a financial claim.

Brett Hartley – Accredited Family Law Specialists

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