There are no hard and fast rules regarding finalising a property settlement immediately after separation, however it is important to remember that the Family Law Act 1975 does impose time limits for the commencement of property settlement proceedings in the Family Law Court or Federal Circuit Court.
These include a time limit of 12 months from the date of divorce for married parties to commence property settlement proceedings, and within 2 years from the date of separation for those who were in a de facto relationship.
Although there are avenues for commencing an action outside of these time limits, the process can be drawn out and expensive, with no guarantee of a successful outcome. This is one of the main risks in delaying a financial settlement.
Another risk associated with the delay of a property settlement is the fact that the Court will take a holistic approach to the assets and liabilities of the parties to the relationship, and this will generally be calculated at the time of the proceedings being commenced.
This can significantly affect the outcome of property settlement proceedings if property or assets have been acquired by either party since separation without the assistance of the other party, or if substantial liabilities have been incurred by either party.
Affinity Lawyers realises that separations are often emotional and turbulent times, however as highlighted above it is important to obtain independent legal advice as early as possible once separation has occurred to understand your obligations, rights and to protect yourself and your assets.
Our specialised family lawyers on the Gold Coast offer a caring and understanding approach to family law matters, so please feel free to telephone Affinity Lawyers on 07 5563 9192 to arrange a free, no-obligation appointment to discuss your matter.