Delayed Divorce Settlements: Everything You Need to Consider

Law Blog

In a much publicised divorce case in the United Kingdom, a woman may win over a million pounds from her ex husband, and this cash may be awarded in spite of the fact that the couple has been divorced since the 1990s and that the man earned the money after their split. Although the case isn't rooted in Australia, it brings up a lot of questions for Australian divorcees.

Whether you are in the midst of  divorce or decades past your divorce, here's what you need to know about delayed divorce settlements:

1. Property Settlement Time Limits

In the UK, this case has highlighted the fact that the country doesn't have time limits on post-divorce property settlement issues. However, that is not the case in Australia. In Australia, you must settle all property disputes within a year after your divorce or two years after your separation in a de facto relationship.  

2. Exceptions to the Rule

In rare cases, you may be able to get the courts to rule on a property dispute case after the time limits have passed. In order to get a delayed ruling, you need to prove special hardship.

For example, in the case cited above, the ex-wife showed the courts the financial trouble she had raising her son, while her ex-partner was starting a company and becoming a millionaire. If you are in a similar situation, a divorce attorney may be able to help you make a case that you deserve "leave to proceed".

3. Protecting Future Assets

If you are in the midst of a divorce and are wondering how you can protect potential future assets, you may want to talk with your lawyer (like those at Catalyst Family Lawyers) about that. To fully protect both parties, you should draft and sign a document preventing any future claims to any future financial assets.

4. Validating Non-Financial Contributions

One of the reasons the case cited above is going forward relates to the court's lack of validating non-financial contributions to the family. The defendant is arguing that she raised the couple's child in poverty while he was enjoying life as a rich person.

Regardless of what state you are at in the divorce process, it is critical to keep these elements in mind. If you are contributing to your family in non-financial ways such as raising kids, you have to have your divorce attorney bring that up during your property negotiations.

If possible, do not just consider the non-financial contributions you are making now. Consider the ones you plan to make. If you are taking full custody of the kids, for example, that leaves your partner all the time they need to start a business and become a millionaire. Use that point to boost your settlement.


19 March 2015

Marriage doesn't have to be a life sentence

No one gets married planning to get divorced, but by the time I see them it's pretty obvious why they are getting divorced. When a marriage is beyond repair I'm there to fight for my clients right's under family and property law and to get them the best deal I can possibly negotiate. Even if you feel like your case is messy or complicated, I can guarantee in my time as a lawyer I have seen and heard worse things! This site has a collection of useful articles and links on developments and case law in the Family Court of Australia.