Separation occurs when one party to a marriage or de facto relationship communicates to the other party that the marriage/relationship is over and that there are no prospects of reconciliation.
Separation can be initiated by one or both parties – “joint consent” is not required to separate. It is also possible to be separated while living under the same roof.
Whilst it is not a requirement in Australia to “register” a separation, the date of separation is important to keep a record of because the date will have implications as to the ability to apply for divorce and/or a property settlement. Coulter Legal can also assist with advice on what to do before and after separation and look after your interests and the interests of any children.
Divorce is just the legal end to the marriage. Applying for a Divorce Order or getting a divorce does not finally deal with parenting or property issues.
To apply for divorce in Australia (even if you married overseas) the following requirements must be met:
Most people can apply for divorce themselves online through the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (the Court) website. However, there are some cases where further documents are needed (for example, if you and your spouse were living together under the same roof or reconciled for a short period of time for any part of the 12 month separation period) or you are required to attend the Court (for example if there are children under the age of 18). Coulter Legal can assist with the Application for Divorce and give you advice as to whether it is an appropriate time in your case to apply for divorce.
You can engage one of our experienced family lawyers to assist you with your Application for Divorce to ensure the specific rules and requirements are met so no delays or extra costs are incurred by you.
You have 12 months from the date of your Divorce Order becoming final to make a claim for a property settlement or spousal maintenance.
For de-facto relationships, you have two (2) years from the date of separation to make a claim for property settlement or spousal maintenance.
If this time period lapses, you need to seek leave (permission) from the Court to apply for a property settlement or spousal maintenance.
To avoid your time period lapsing, it is generally best to begin the process of finalising your property settlement and spousal maintenance claims before to applying for a Divorce Order.
You should consider the following before separation:
These steps do not have to be taken alone before or after separation. By seeking expert legal advice from one of our family lawyers, you will be assured you are dealing with these steps correctly and alleviate any confusion or other concerns you may have.
It is important to update your Will and any Power of Attorney you have that includes your former partner. Please click here for more information.