Division of Assets and Time Limits for Property Settlements

Property settlement is the division of assets, liabilities and financial resources in the case of a divorce or separation.  This can be done either mutually by agreement, or through a judicial decision in the Family Court of Western Australia.  We have significant experience in successfully representing clients in complex property settlements and cases involving companies, trusts and overseas assets.

Our rates and fixed prices are lower than the prices charged by many Perth Commercial law firms because we own our offices so we don't pay the exorbitant St George's Tce rent that many commercial law firms do.  

Following the breakdown of a marriage, or de factor relationship, parties need to consider how they are going to divide their property.  There are many factors to consider including strict time limits and how the assets will be divided.


Married - Married couples have 12 months from the date of divorce to apply to the family courts for a property settlement and it is 12 months from the date of divorce not from the date of separation.

De Facto - De facto couples have 24 months from the date of separation to apply to the family courts for a property settlement.


When making a decision on how to divide the assets after the breakdown of a relationship, the court will use the ‘four step’ approach:

  1. Identify and value the assets and liabilities of the parties.  This may be a simple or complex task depending on the circumstances.  The Family Court can have regard to assets held by a company or a third party in certain circumstances. 
  1. Assess the financial and non-financial contributions of the parties before, during and after the relationship.  The assessment of contributions can be difficult in cases involving significant initial contributions, inheritances, compensation payments or gifts.  There is no presumption that an assessment of contributions will result in a equal division of the assets. 
  1. Assess the parties’ Section 75(2) factors, sometimes referred to as ‘future needs’.  The court can make an adjustment in favour of one party if the circumstances permit.  However the assessment of these factors or needs is discretionary and the adjustments generally vary from case to case. 
  1. Lastly, assess what orders, if any, are just and equitable in the circumstances of the case.

Can I enter into a financial agreement if I am in a de factor relationship?

Financial agreements are now recognized and can be enforceable in the Family Court of Western Australia.

Read more on financial agreements – CLICK HERE.