Family Court of Western Australia

Property and Financial

When people separate, they often need to sort out how to divide their property and finances. There are two main types of property and financial orders:

  • orders to divide your property and finances
  • spousal and de facto maintenance orders

This page has an overview of how to resolve your property and financial issues. Before applying to the Court, you need to make a genuine attempt to resolve your dispute. Using family dispute resolution services to help you discuss your financial and property issues is the first step in what is known as pre-action procedures.

If you come to an agreement after dispute resolution, you can apply to the Court for consent orders to make the agreement formal.

If you can’t reach an agreement, you can apply to the Court for orders dividing your property and finances and maintenance orders.

If you do need to apply to the Court for orders dividing your property and finances, and the total net value of your property is less than $500,000 (excluding superannuation), and there are no entities that might require expert investigation (such as companies or trusts), your case may be classified as a PPP500 case (Priority Property Pools under $500,000).

What are property and financial orders

Property and financial orders fairly divide your property, based on the contributions you and your partner made to the relationship.

See the dividing property page for the principles the Court uses when making a decision. 

Figuring out what property and financial assets and debts are relevant to your situation can be difficult, and you should seek legal advice before you start the pre-action procedures or make an application.

Pre-action procedures

The first step in resolving your dispute is to comply with the pre-action procedures. This can lead to a result without the Court making the decision, and is also required before you can apply to the Court.

The pre-action procedures are:

  • to participate in some sort of dispute resolution
  • if dispute resolution is unsuccessful, write a letter to the other party, setting out your position and exploring options for settlement.
  • to comply with the duty of disclosure.

The procedures are designed so that both parties are aware of what their current financial situation is and what the other side wants.

Even if you don't fully resolve your dispute during this process, it makes you clearer on your positions and reduces the amount of time and money spent in Court. It's important to remember that only 5% of disputes end up going to trial.

See the pre-action procedures page for more information.

Eligibility to apply

To apply for consent or property and financial orders, you need to have been in a relationship that meets the legal criteria, and apply within the proper time limits. These are different for married and de facto couples.

Married couples

Any person who is, or has been, married can apply for property and financial orders. However you need to apply within one year of your divorce. After this time, you need the Court’s permission to apply.

De facto couples

A person who was in a de facto relationship can apply for financial orders in the courts. However you need to apply within two years of the breakdown of your relationship. After this time, you need the Court’s permission to apply.

You will need to provide evidence of your de facto relationship when you apply. See the de facto relationships page for more information.

More information

Follow the links for more information on:

Last updated: 27-Sep-2023

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