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Time Limits on Separation

It’s important to know that there are specific time restraints on when you can approach the Court to make orders. Although this may be the last thing you would want to think about during a separation, it will save you potential future issues. 

You have 12 months after your divorce order is granted to apply to the Court for property orders. This is generally why we recommend finalizing the distribution of your property prior to filing an application for divorce. 

If you are in a de-facto relationship, you have 24 months after the date of your separation to apply to the Court. 

The above time restrictions also apply for Spousal Maintenance orders, that is; 12 months after your divorce is final or 24 months after the date of separation in a de-facto relationship. 

If you missed the timeline to make an application, you will need to ask the Court for “leave”. This means that you must ask the Court to allow your application outside of the timeframe.

You will first need to explain to the Court why you could not or did not, make the application within the time frame due to hardship. For example, you were prevented from making the application due to mental or emotional difficulties or what you could not receive legal advice. 

Secondly, you need to demonstrate to the Court that you have reasonable prospects of getting the orders you wish to seek if you were allowed to proceed with the application. 

Finally, you need evidence to show the Court that you or a child of the relationship will suffer ‘real and material loss’ if the application cannot proceed. For example, that you do not have enough available assets to secure a place to live, or that you will not be able to secure appropriate education for the child. 

We can help you prepare the application for leave if you have run out of time. We will ask you a range of questions to understand your position and draft your affidavit to include the areas of hardship you are experiencing. 

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