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But All I Need is a Divorce?


Every other day we have enquiries from people wanting to arrange an appointment with us to finalise their “divorce.” In reality, more often than not, people actually require a property settlement and/or require assistance in making and finalising arrangements for their children. Obtaining a divorce itself is usually straightforward.

However, once a divorce is finalised, a time limit of one year starts ticking for commencing property proceedings. There are circumstances in which an application may be made “out of time”, and the Court will allow people to file in Court after a period of 12 months has passed.

Therefore, it is important to consider the following:

1. Have you recently divorced?

Then you may need to see a lawyer to find out about finalising your property settlement. In many cases, this can be done without going to Court; we often suggest alternate means of dispute resolution to resolve property settlement disputes.

2. You divorced more than 12 months ago but have not completed a property settlement?

While rare, an “out of time” application can be made to commence property proceedings with the Court. A lawyer can assist you with that by explaining the requirements you must meet in order to file such an application. Your lawyer can also explain the process that needs to be undertaken in order to mount such an application. Otherwise, it may be possible to reach an agreement with your former spouse to extend the time limit.

3. Are you thinking about divorce but unsure of the next step?

We can help by explaining the available options, applicable timeframes and advise you in relation to a likely outcome and the likely division of assets. We can also assist by preparing the requisite documents to finalise your divorce (often at the conclusion of the property settlement).

It is important to note that there are no time limits for parenting applications following divorce. If you require assistance in reaching an arrangement about your children, the court will look at what is in the best interest of the child. These parenting arrangements are not influenced by a divorce application.

Your estate planning, which includes your Will and Enduring Power of Attorney will more often than not, require updating following a separation or divorce. It is important to understand the flow-on implications of getting a divorce before finalising your property settlement.

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