Property division and divorce are two separate things in family law – you can do either one, both or neither.
Australia has no-fault divorce. This means that there is no need to show any wrongdoing of either person. The ground for divorce is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, shown by the parties having been separated for at least 12 months. This means that you’ll have to wait 12 months from your separation date before you can apply for a divorce.
Once the divorce has been granted, the clock then starts ticking and you will have 12 months from the divorce date to have sorted out your property settlement or risk being considered ‘out of time’.
There is no minimum time you have to wait before dividing your assets in a property settlement. I usually advise people to sort out their property settlement as soon as possible after they separate.
Justine Dean – Samford Family Law