If you are a de facto couple, you have two years from the date of separation to reach a financial agreement with your partner or commence Court proceedings seeking a property settlement.

If you haven’t reached a financial agreement within the two-year period and you still want a property settlement, then you have to ask permission from the Court to allow you to pursue one. This is called a ‘leave out of time application’. It becomes an additional hurdle for you to overcome, which is why when you separate it is a good idea to get some legal advice and/or reach a financial agreement with your partner sooner rather than later.

If you do not reach an agreement within the two-year period, then the property interests will not be altered, meaning that everything in your name will remain yours and yours alone, and vice versa with your partner. If you have any joint property, such as bank accounts or a house, then the again, it will remain your and your partner’s jointly.

It is important to be mindful that if you have a joint debt with your partner, then you’re both considered liable for it.

For example, it won’t matter to the bank if your partner lives in the home and said that he/she will pay all of the home loan repayments and then doesn’t, thereby defaulting. More likely than not, your credit rating will be affected and the house may be repossessed at a cost to you.

If married, you can apply for a divorce once you and your partner have been separated for at least 12 months. Once a divorce Order has been issued then, if you and your partner have not reached a financial agreement, you have 12 months in order to do so or commence Court proceedings seeking a property settlement.

If you have been married for less than two years, then you must participate in counseling or otherwise ask the Court for permission to apply for divorce.

There are no time limits in relation to parenting Orders. There are strict time limits however, in relation to appeals.

Talk to us today to get advice early on before separating or shortly following so that time doesn’t get away from you.

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