When parties to a marriage or a de facto relationship want Court Orders to divide their property, time limits apply as to when they can bring an application. A party to a marriage has 12 months from the date of their divorce (not separation) to ask the Court for Orders; and a party to a de facto relationship has 2 years from the date that they separate. On the application of one party, the Court can give permission to extend this time limit in certain circumstances.
Notwithstanding that de facto couples have been able to divide their property under the Family Law Act since 2009, until recently only married couples could consent (between themselves) to extend the time limit. De facto couples required permission from the Court as soon as the 2 years elapsed. However, in October 2018 amendments to the Family Law Act were passed, bringing the provisions into line so that both married and de facto couples can now agree (between themselves) to extend the time to seek Orders to divide their property.
The correction of this anomaly will remove additional expense and hassle for de facto couples, and ensure consistency regardless of the type of relationship.