Time limits in Family Law – Are you out of time?

Family Court Matters, Separation, Divorce, & Relationship Matters, Understanding Family Law

Time limits in Family Law – Are you out of time?

The breakdown of a relationship can be an emotional and stressful time, particularly if there is property to be divided or the care of children to be decided. When a relationship ends, it is important for the parties to be aware of time limits.


Following the breakdown of the marriage, parties must wait 12 months and 1 day from the date of separation before applying for a divorce. The reasoning behind this, is to ensure that there is no chance of reconciliation and that the parties are sure that the relationship is over.

Subsequent to the parties being separated for 12 months, there is no time limit in which an application for divorce must be made within.

If parties have been married less than 2 years when they apply for a divorce, they must first attend counselling before applying for a divorce.

Divorce proceedings alone do not resolve parenting matters or property division, so it is important that parties are also aware of the time restraints if they wish to formally settle those issues.

Property Orders

In circumstances where the parties were married, there is a one year time limit from a Divorce Order being made, for an application to the Courts for a property settlement.

You do not have to wait to until your divorce is final to sort out your property matter. In fact, it is generally better to finalise your property matter sooner rather than later.

Where the parties were in a de facto relationship, applications for property orders must be filed within two years of separation.

In limited circumstances the Court may give permission to file an application seeking property orders out of time. However, you should not assume this will be the case and should comply with the time limits.

Parenting Orders

In relation to parenting proceedings, there is no time limit imposed by the Family Court for filing an application, so long as the child is under 18 years of age.

Before parenting proceedings are commenced, the Court requires that the parties attend dispute resolution (also known as mediation) with a family dispute resolution provider. Unless an exception applies, the parties must attend dispute resolution to obtain the required section 60I certificate before commencing court proceeding.

When to seek assistance

In addition to the time limits imposed by the Family Court, there are several other time restraints such as when a response or an appeal is to be filed. The solicitors at Cairns Family Law Group can assist you with this.
If you are seeking assistance with your family law matter, please contact us by phoning our office on (07) 4051 7575 or emailing us at info@cairnsfamilylawgroup.com.au.

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