Separation: Time Limits

What are the Time Limits to know about after Separation 

Time frames as to whether you have spent enough time living together as an opposite sex or same sex de facto couple or whether the circumstances of your relationship mean you are classified as having been in a de facto relationship, are detailed in our separate information sheet in the de facto relationships section.

You can start talking about (and finalise) your property settlement as soon as you like after separation.

There is no minimum time frame which must elapse first and if you have been married, you do not have to wait for a divorce to occur.

Separation is traumatic and emotional which can mean some people will need more time than others before they are ready to consider financial and property settlement issues.

A maximum time limit does apply to spousal maintenance, property division and property settlement.

There must be an Application to the court for property settlement and/or spousal maintenance within:



  • 1 year of a divorce becoming absolute for married couples; or
  • 2 years of separation for de facto couples.

An application to the court for leave to proceed with a property settlement outside the time limit will only be granted in limited circumstances.

If you are close to the time limit expiring, you should urgently seek legal advice to protect your rights, property, assets and entitlements.

Separation – More Information

Following a list of what you need to do can be very helpful. See our checklists:

To Do Checklist: Child Issues after Separation

You may want to read our information sheet The Stages of Separation: How it will affect you & your former partner to understand what you or your partner are going through.

If you have separated our information sheet Separation: What you need to know & where to get free help is a must read.

Our information sheet How does Separation & Relationship Breakdown affect my Will, family after your death, Superannuation & Life Insurance also contains important information.

If you own land, houses or buildings with your former spouse then you can read how that is affected in our information sheet How does Separation & Relationship Breakdown affect Jointly Owned Property.


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