NSW Divorce and Property Settlement Legal Questions

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22 August 2014
Hi. How long do a couple need to be separated in NSW before divorce under family law?
Is it true that even though our house is owned jointly (on title deed) that my husband can take his time selling the house once divorce proceedings commence - would I be entitled to half of the house proceeds - been married for 27 years (was his house initially - but placed both names on the deed years ago)?

Sarah J

Well-Known Member
16 July 2014
Melbourne, Victoria
Hi vg21,

To apply for divorce, you and your husband need to be separated for at least 12 months and satisfy to the Family Court of Australia that there is no reasonable chance of getting back together: see Family Court Information Sheet.

In relation to division of settlement:

This is always a complicated question because the court takes many factors into consideration. Have a read through these previous LawAnswers Family Law Forum threads that deal with the same issue:
- "Property Settlement if I Got a Divorce"
- "Separation and Selling Family Home"
- "New Husband wants half of everything - Where do I stand?"

In relation to selling the family home:
Joint tenancy means that one cannot sell the property without the other's approval. However, one owner can apply to court for an order of sale: Conveyancing Act 1919 (NSW) Section 66G. Essentially what happens is, one person approaches court to appoint a trustee over the property, the trustee then sells the property and divides the proceeds to interested parties.

Here is a good booklet on divorce in NSW: Law Handbook Family Marriage and Divorce.