Latest Family Law Insights

Ex-Partner is Delaying Property Settlement – What Do I Do?

First published April 4th, 2022

We all know how stressful family court can be. In the midst of it all, you might think that your ex-partner is stalling the property settlement process as long as possible.

Your ex-partner may delay property settlement proceedings for multiple reasons. The most common cause could simply involve an obsession with certain assets included in the property pool—particularly if those items financially benefit them in some way. Another possibility worth considering more closely is that they may not be ready to move forward yet?

What Can Happen if I Find My Ex-Partner is Delaying Settlement?

ex-partner delaying property settlement

If you find your former spouse is trying to delay property settlement, it can leave you and your family members vulnerable to dissipated assets. This happens when one party wastes or squanders money post-separation and can reduce your property settlement altogether.

Whatever you do, don’t inherit your ex’s poor fiscal choices. As a result, you may be asked to prove that unnecessary living expenses were involved, which may be difficult to prove if your ex has hidden bank accounts.

You should always think about how your finances may be affected by your ex-husband, ex-wife, or ex-spouse is not disclosing any money or real estate owned that needs to be included in the property pool. Any unforeseen delays can incur unnecessary expenses depending on the types of property or assets you both shared before separation.

What Motivations Are Behind Delays in Property Settlements?

Ex-wife delaying property settlement

If your ex-wife or ex-husband delays property settlement and cannot agree on a property settlement, they may not understand the implications.

Failing to settle and finalise property settlements could negatively affect both parties involved. There may be unforeseen consequences such as losing access rights or being forced into court proceedings where one party will likely receive a more generous financial settlement than initially offered from the property pool during discussions.

When you and your ex-partner can’t reach a fair settlement, it may be because one of the two parties feels entitled to more than their legally fair share. Sometimes people are in denial about how much property they are entitled to for themselves after breaking up. Or, other times, an emotional separation makes negotiating difficult to finalise due to procrastination and resentment towards the other party.

How Can an Ex-Spouse Ensure That The Other Party Follows Through on The Agreed-Upon Settlement?

It can be a difficult time when you’re going through a divorce and settling your property. But we know it’s even more stressful if there are disagreements over what will happen with any shared assets and the additional stress due to any delayed property settlement.

Formalising your property settlement is an essential step in getting divorced. There are two ways to do so:

  1. A Consent Order
  2. A Binding Financial Agreement

Consent Orders are a great way to resolve conflicts without going through the stress and cost of litigation. As parties in an agreement with one another, they allow you complete control over how things will be handled.

A Binding Financial Agreement is a private agreement between the parties. It does not go through the court system but if prepared correctly, is legally binding.

What is a Typical Time Limit on a Property Settlement?

If you were married, applications for adjustment of your property interests (that is-your, property settlement) must be made within 12 months after the date on which divorce became final.

Suppose you’re separated but not yet divorced. The 12-month time limit for property settlement does not apply. Spousal maintenance can be applied immediately upon separation; however, the time frame for property settlement of 12 months will only apply when your divorce becomes final.

How Can You Extend The Property Settlement Time Limit if Needed?

The court will allow you to extend the time for property settlement outside of your original deadline. There are particular circumstances that need to be met for this application process, so it’s essential to get legal advice on extending the time limit.

If the time limit for pursuing a property settlement has expired, you need to make an application before the court. If granted, your deadline will be extended beyond what was initially set out in law or otherwise agreed upon.

If you are in a de facto relationship (i.e., not married), there are two years of time limitations after separation before applying for property settlement orders with the Court.

Are There Any Benefits to Settling a Property Dispute Quickly?

The short answer is yes, but it’s important to be aware of the risks associated. A quick settlement can have many benefits for both parties involved in a dispute—from saving time and money on legal fees or expenses down to not having any negative impacts on court proceedings!

There are many factors to consider when going through a divorce, including how you’ll share the financial responsibilities. The best way to make the settlement process go as smoothly and quickly for you both is to make sure there has been some time after the separation when each party’s emotional state is more stable. As a result, both parties will have the time to think about their financial situation with clearer heads rather than being caught up in so many other things going on at once.

Are There Any Benefits to Delaying Property Settlement?

There are many reasons why someone might want to delay property settlement, but the most common reason is that they don’t understand what will happen.

Your ex-husband, wife or spouse might see the benefits of delaying a property settlement process in certain circumstances, such as an asset is about to increase in value or trying to conceal an asset from the shared asset pool you are not aware of.

Suppose a party has just received valuable inheritance money and will receive it within the property settlement time frame. In that case, that party may want to delay the property settlement to get legal advice or even try to hide the property or assets from the property settlement agreement.

The second central point to consider is if your ex-husband or ex-wife has accumulated debts after separation before a formal property settlement has been reached. These new debts remain both your responsibility. You may want to delay the property settlement until you are satisfied that your ex’s level of debt has been reduced.

Can Hiring a Lawyer Help in This Situation?

When you’re going through a divorce, or you’re on a de facto relationship each of the two parties involved hire an experienced family lawyer for legal advice and understands family law facts. Many aspects must be considered when filing for divorce and having a property settlement, especially with complex property and assets divisions and when child custody decisions must be made.

We always recommend that you seek legal advice and speak to specialist family lawyers before having the “property settlement conversation” with your ex-spouse.

If you’re in the process of getting a divorce and have questions about property settlement, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our Accredited Family Law Specialist will guide you through this challenging process.

Let us help you get started on the path to a new beginning. Contact one of our friendly team members on 03 9070 9839 or

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the potential risks of re-partnering while a property settlement is in progress?

The court will consider your new partner’s finances when deciding your financial status. This means that if a party to separation begins living with another person, their financial circumstances may be looked into by the courts and taken into account.

Can I go to court if my ex-partner is delaying property settlement?

When the negotiations fail and litigation under the family law act becomes inevitable, it’s important to know that other approaches are available. For example, mediation or applying to the Court to progress with your case without further interruptions to this process.

Can I change my property settlement if I find hidden assets?

If either party has hidden assets, or you find your ex-partner is delaying property settlement to conceal the assets from the initial property pool, he can risk losing property settlement or being taken back to court. Ensure that any hidden assets are declared and added to the shared asset pool or risk a penalty of losing your assets in Court.

How can I find hidden assets during divorce property settlement?

If you suspect that your ex-husband is delaying property settlement to hide assets, working through those concerns with an experienced lawyer will allow for a more informed decision.

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Casey established Sage Family Lawyers after working for one of Australia’s most prestigious family law practices.