De facto couples
A de facto couple will need to commence proceedings within 2 years from the breakdown of the de facto relationship.
For example, if separation occurred on a final basis on 1 January 2017 (and you have not since reconciled), you will need to commence proceedings before 2 January 2019.
It can often be difficult to pinpoint the exact date that a de facto relationship broke down. Couples often disagree as to when they separated on a final basis, and this will become a question of fact to be determined by the court. The longer you wait to finalise property settlement, the more difficult it can be to show that you were within the time limit. We recommend that you attempt to finalise property settlement as soon as possible.
If you do not commence proceedings within the 2 year time limit, you will need to seek leave from the court to make an application ‘out of time’. A court will only extend the time limit if it would cause hardship to you, your former partner, or any child to the relationship.
The court will only grant leave under the same grounds as marriage (referred to above).