People who have recently separated from their spouse often talk about wanting to “get a divorce”. What people may not realise is that a divorce is generally just the last step you take in formally ending your relationship rather than the key part of the process. In particular, you do not actually have to be divorced in order to finalise a property settlement.
A divorce is the legal termination of your marriage. It allows you to remarry but does not deal with the division of your property or issues relating to your children. In order to apply for a divorce in Australia, your marriage must have broken down irretrievably and you must have been separated for at least 12 months.
You do not, however, have to wait 12 months to finalise a property settlement. As soon as you have separated you can start negotiations about property. We recommend reaching a property settlement before you apply for a divorce, because once you are divorced you only have 12 months to commence property settlement proceedings through the Courts.
Informal agreements before or after a divorce are not enforceable and do not come with the benefits of Capital Gains Tax relief or stamp duty exemptions. To ensure your settlement is made within the proper time frame and with maximum enforceability you should get expert advice from the family law team at Fox and Thomas.
For more information please contact Kay Rhodes or Jessica Devane on 07 4671 6000.