Getting divorced can be a challenging process, particularly at a time when you are experiencing emotional distress. It is possible to obtain a divorce without legal help, and there are plenty of online resources to assist you. However, it can be useful to speak to a divorce lawyer, as they can help relieve you of some of the burden involved in filing for divorce. They can also ensure that your rights are protected.
Criteria For Applying for a Divorce
To apply for a divorce, there are certain criteria you must meet:
- You must have been separated for at least 12 months (living separately or in the same home)
- There are no prospects of reconciliation
- You or your spouse must
- have Australian citizenship
- have lived in Australia for at least the past 12 months
- consider Australia to be your home
- intend to remain in Australia
Married Less than Two-Years?
If you have been married for less than 2 years (calculated from the date of marriage to the date of applying for a divorce) you must meet the criteria above, but you must also pursue one of two options:
- You and your spouse must undertake counselling with a family counsellor (or another nominated counsellor). If there is no possibility that you will re-unite, the counsellor must provide a certificate to confirm that reconciliation was discussed
- You must seek permission from the Family Court to apply for the divorce
Applying for A Divorce
Submitting an Application
After the one-year separation period you can complete and submit a divorce application online through the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. You can apply for a divorce by yourself, as a sole applicant, or you can submit a joint divorce application with your spouse.
Serving Divorce Papers – for Sole Applicants Only
If you are a sole applicant, you must formally serve the application to your spouse. In other words, they must be formally notified of the application for divorce. This can be done by sending specific documents to your spouse via the postal service. Serving by post should only be done if you feel certain that your spouse will sign and return the Acknowledgement of Service to you. Otherwise, you must arrange for the application to be served in person. This must be done by a person over 18 years of age, and can be a friend, family member, or a professional process server.
When you submit the form, you will be allocated a file number, and you will be notified of the date and time of the court hearing. If a joint application was made, you do not need to attend the court hearing, unless you have indicated that you wish to attend. However, sole applicants will need to attend the hearing if there is a child of the marriage that is under the age of 18 years.
Granting the Divorce
If the court approves your application for divorce, you will receive a divorce order that will come into effect one month and one day after the hearing.
Filing for a divorce can be complex, particularly as you will be required to provide the court with relevant legal documentation to support your application. Our team of lawyers can help you complete and submit an application, and can provide you with legal advice concerning your eligibility, your rights and your responsibilities. In order to fully understand your situation, we will listen to you with attentiveness, care and compassion. We will represent you so that you receive your best possible outcome. Contact us today to speak to one of our lawyers.