What is the difference between a property settlement and a divorce?

A divorce and a property settlement are two different legal processes.

A property settlement is the formal division of property, interests and financial resources following a couple separating. Discussions regarding the division of assets can occur as soon as a couple separates. The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) provides that parties have twelve (12) months from the date of a final Divorce Order within which to file a Court application for a property division. For de facto couples, the time limitation is two (2) years from the date of separation. If you have missed this time limitation you must first obtain the leave of the Court to proceed out of time.

A divorce on the other hand is the legal termination of the marriage and will allow the parties to remarry. You must wait twelve (12) months from the date of separation before you can apply for a divorce in most circumstances.

You can formalise your property settlement without applying for a divorce and indeed finalise your divorce without any formal property settlement.

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