Recently Separated Or Divorced? Why You Need To Be Aware Of The Ticking Clock

When a relationship between two people ends, it can often be an upsetting time for both parties. There may be some animosity involved, and one or other of the individuals may simply want to turn their backs and get away as quickly as possible. Yet the clock may start to tick when it comes to any type of property settlement or spousal maintenance claim, and it may be essential to take action before any statutory limits are applied. So, what do you need to know about timely action if you find yourself in this position?

Understanding The Law

The Family Law Act in Australia gives married spouses no more than 12 months from the date that a divorce order is issued to file an application for property settlement or spousal maintenance with a court. If you were in a de facto relationship, you have up to 2 years to do the same following the actual date of your separation.

What Do The Limits Mean?

If you do not, you lose the automatic right to file and will need to apply for special permission from the courts to do so instead. The court may grant you this permission if you can provide a reasonable excuse for any delay and show that you or a child may suffer hardship otherwise.

This type of approach can be complicated, and you may incur additional legal costs. It is not unheard of for the court to ask you to pay the other party's legal costs in the situation, which could add up. In this situation, you may be better off asking your former partner or spouse if they agree to go forward with this case.

Other Agreements

Some parties decide to create a binding financial agreement between them instead, which is often a simpler approach and easier than applying for court decisions. In this situation, you will not need to go through court at all, and a statutory time limit does not apply. However, it's important to get these documents drafted carefully to ensure they can be enforced if necessary in the future.

What You Need To Do Next

Don't be tempted to simply turn your back because you've had enough of the entire situation. Instead, keep note of the relevant time limits and be ready to take action. If your financial issues are still unresolved and you don't know what to do, get in touch with a family lawyer as soon as possible.