How Long After A Divorce Is Finalised Can Your Ex Spouse Claim Property?

Navigating a divorce can be emotionally taxing however it’s important to be aware that you and your ex spouse can initiate discussions about property settlement as soon as divorce proceedings commence. While tensions are high, it can be challenging to come to a solution that suits both parties with minimal conflict. In this blog, we answer how long after a divorce can your ex claim property in Australia.

You have the options of mediation and creating a binding financial agreement (BFA) in an effort to negotiate a sensible settlement with the other party. While many people assume a BFA can only be entered into before getting married, they can actually be entered any time during a relationship, as well once that relationship has ended. Getting a family lawyer involved is the first step to securing a favourable outcome. They will make you aware of your financial obligations, including how long after a divorce is finalised can your ex spouse claim property. Here’s what you should know.

Is There A Property Settlement Time Limit?

In accordance with Section 44(3) of the Family Law Act 1975, y​our ex spouse has 12 months from the date of the divorce being finalised to claim any assets or apply to the court for maintenance. All property matters must be settled and resolved by that time.

Section 44(5) of the Family Law Act 1975 denotes that in the case of a de facto relationship, your ex partner has two years from the date of separation. Learn more about whether you need to protect your assets in a de facto relationship here.

Can My Ex Spouse Claim Property After The Property Settlement Time Limit?

Your ex spouse can request an extension of time in extenuating circumstances that the court will evaluate for validity.

Possible reasons that the court would accept an extension include financial hardship or material harm caused to the other party and/or any children.

After the time limit has expired, the court is unlikely to grant permission for new applications for maintenance or property claims.

Is There A Minimum Wait Period For Property Settlement?

No, you can begin formalising your property settlement from the date of separation. However, it is a good idea to allow some time for adjusting to the separation before dividing assets.

What If My Ex Spouse And I Are Negotiating An Agreement Without The Family Court?

If you and your ex spouse are negotiating your own property agreement, and the 12-month time limit is about to lapse, we recommend seeking legal counsel and commencing court proceedings.

The Federal Circuit and Family Court will endeavour to provide a fair and equitable outcome, and protect you, any children and rights to property.

Can You Start Property Settlement Before You Are Divorced?

If you are still married and trialling separation, or discussing divorce proceedings, then you can start creating a property agreement. Begin by disclosing all your assets and liabilities. This includes your superannuation, business assets, real estate, future inheritances, cars, associated debts and more.

If you would like more time to reach a property agreement, we recommend beginning this process before filing for divorce to allow yourselves more than 12 months.

When Should We Formalise A Property Agreement If We Already Have One?

If you're wondering how long after a divorce can your partner claim property in Australia, it's time to start thinking about a property agreement. Your property agreement needs to be legally formalised as soon as possible to ensure that it is a legally binding document. You can formalise your agreement with Consent Orders from the Federal Circuit and Family Court, or by having a family lawyer help you to sign a Financial Agreement entered into by you and your partner.

A legally binding agreement ensures that one party cannot unduly remove themselves from the agreement at a later date and that your current and future assets are protected.

How Can I Finalise My Divorce And Legally Protect My Assets?

If you are in the process of divorce or have begun separating from your ex partner, get in touch with an accredited family lawyer. At Pullos Lawyers, we specialise in helping guide you through the legal process of divorce, property settlement, LGBTQ law, dispute resolution and more. Contact us today to organise an appointment at one of our offices located in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.