Time Limitations in Family Law – When the Clock Starts Ticking!

By Anna Westphal | 12 May 2017

Separation can be a highly emotional time. You may go through the stages of grief, and worry about what arrangements will be made for your children. Although sorting out your financial issues may not be your priority, it is important to know how long you have from a family law perspective.

De Facto Couples

De facto couples have two years from the date of separation to commence proceedings in the Family Court for orders in relation to property and de facto maintenance.

Married Couples

For married couples, the clock does not start ticking until after the couple are divorced. Married couples are unable to apply for a divorce until they have been separated for 12 months. They then have one year from the date that the divorce order takes effect to commence proceedings for orders in relation property and spousal maintenance.

After Time Expires

After the applicable time period expires, the Family Court must grant a party leave to file an application ‘out of time’. It is within the Court’s discretion whether or not to accept such an application, and it will depend on the individual circumstances.

Complexities can arise when the ‘date of separation’ is ambiguous, or the parties have differing views as to when the relationship was actually over. It is important to note that time limitation periods do not apply to parenting matters.

If you are unsure about the time limits that apply to your specific circumstance, or need family law advice, the lawyers at Leach Legal are happy to assist. Call us for a free 15 minute telephone consultation.