Are you looking to obtain a divorce order in an efficient, cost effective and stress free manner?
Our experienced family law team have prepared this article to answer all of your questions about applying for a Divorce in Australia.
Typically, one of the first questions that our clients will ask when enquiring about obtaining a divorce order, is how the assets of their marriage will be divided between themselves and their former spouse.
A Divorce Order in Australia is orders separate from the division of the assets of your marriage (often referred to as a “property settlement”) or the parenting arrangements that will be put in place for your children. An entirely different application is required to be filed in order to have a Court make a decision about parenting and property matters. These issues will not be decided by the Court at a Divorce Hearing. A Divorce Order simply ends your marriage but does not divide the property of your relationship.
If you require advice on the division of your property , parenting matters or spousal maintenance in Australia, Coulter Legal offer a no cost 30 minute initial consultation to discuss your situation with an experienced family lawyer, Click here to get started
Divorce is a no-fault jurisdiction in Australia. This means that the Court is not interested in why your marriage has broken down or who may be to blame for the breakdown. What has happened during your marriage is not relevant to whether the Court will grant you a Divorce Order.
The first ground that must be established by a Court in order to grant a Divorce Order is whether that the marriage has broken down irretrievably, and there is no “reasonable likelihood” that you and your spouse will get back together. You or your spouse must declare that a reconciliation is not likely to occur on the Divorce Application Form.
If you and your spouse (or either of you separately) have a child who is under the age of 18 when you make an Application for Divorce, the Court must also be satisfied that there are arrangements in place for their care before it will grant a Divorce Order.
You must meet certain eligibility requirements in order to file an application for Divorce in Australia. The eligibility requirements for obtaining a Divorce Order in Australia are relatively straightforward.
Requirement 1 – Jurisdiction
Either you or your spouse must:
Requirement 2 – 12 Months Separation
You and your spouse need to have been separated for a period of 12 months and 1 day prior to filing a Divorce Application. The Court will sometimes accept that the parties to a marriage are separated even where they have remained living in the same house for some or all of the 12 month separation, however, there are strict requirements that must be met.
If you and your former spouse attempted a reconciliation after separation, the 12 month separation period will not “reset”, if the total period of reconciliation was less than 3 months. The total number of days of the reconciliation can be added to the original separation date to establish when you will be eligible to make a Divorce Application.
Requirement 3 – Counselling Certificate
If you have been married for less than two years you will need to file a certificate from a marriage counsellor or an affidavit explaining the circumstances of why you are unable to attend counselling (for example, in circumstances of family violence or where one spouse is unable to be located).
An Application for Divorce in Australia is filed online on the Commonwealth Courts Portal.
You can make an Application jointly with your spouse or by yourself.
You will need a copy of your Marriage Certificate to apply.
The cost of filing an Application for Divorce in Australia is $940.00.
You may be eligible for the reduced fee of $310.00 if you are in receipt of a government pension, concession card or are experiencing financial hardship.
When you file your Divorce Application online, a date for a Divorce Hearing will be allocated. The Divorce Hearing will typically be between 1 to 2 months from the date of filing your Divorce Application.
At the Divorce Hearing, if a Divorce Order is made, the Order does not come into effect until 1 month and 1 day after the hearing.
All up, it can take anywhere between 2 – 4 months to get a Divorce in Australia.
You can apply for a divorce without a lawyer in Australia. However, it is important to note that the Court has specific rules about how the Application is drafted, serving your former spouse with the Application and when appearances in Court will be necessary. These rules must be complied with before the Court will grant a Divorce Order. If there are children of the marriage you must attend the divorce hearing or arrange for a lawyer to attend on your behalf.
It is recommended that you engage one of our experienced family lawyers to assist you with your Divorce Application to ensure that all the relevant requirements are met and there are no delays or extra costs.
If you and your spouse have children under the age of 18, if there was a separation under one roof, or if there was a period of reconciliation we highly recommend you engage a lawyer to assist you with your application.
Coulter Legal offers a no-obligation online divorce tool for standard Divorce applications.
Once completed, you will be fully supported from start to finish by one of our experienced family lawyers for our fixed fee of $2,400.00 inc GST.