SingleMum.com.au Expert Opinion Panel
Question to Stephen Page, Lawyer
Can we divorce before our property settlement?
Does getting a divorce before property settlement make a difference? Does the date the divorce was granted mean that is the date the finances can be split and not the actual date of the property settlement?
If trusts are involved does divorce before property settlement make a difference?
Stephen Page, Lawyer, answers…
Hi Divorcing Mum
Property settlement can be undertaken at any time after parties separate. Since 1983, people haven’t had to wait to get divorced before having a property settlement.
For married couples, there is a time limit on filing an application for property settlement or spousal maintenance. It must be filed within a year of divorce.
For de facto couples, except in WA which has its own rules, the time limit is 2 years from separation. This will always be a quicker time limit than for married couples. If a married couple never divorce, then the time limit never starts, but for a de facto couple, the time limit always starts to run.
It is possible to file for property settlement or spousal maintenance outside the 2 years, but leave or permission of the court is first needed, and this may not be given.
The court in working out property settlement has to identify and value the asset pool. It does so at the time of trial, but takes into account what has happened to the pool since separation.
Stephen Page is a partner of Harrington Family Lawyers, one of Brisbane’s oldest boutique family law firms.
Admitted in 1987, Stephen has been an accredited family law specialist since 1996. A co-founder of a domestic violence service, Stephen has been a member since 1999 of a committee for a court based domestic violence service and since 2008 a board member of a charity linking business with the domestic violence sector read more…