It is important to understand that getting a ‘divorce’ is a separate matter to resolving any parenting and property issues that are caused by separation from your partner.
A divorce is essentially a Court Order that ends your marriage. It is dealt with separately by the Court from any associated parenting and property issues.
You do not need to be legally divorced to start parenting and/or property proceedings. In fact, in some cases it is better not to obtain a divorce order before starting financial proceedings, because there are deadlines associated with this.
An application for a divorce can be made solely, or in conjunction with your former partner. If you make the application solely, then only you will need to sign the document, but the documents will need to be ‘served’ on the other party, i.e. delivered to them and a confirmation of service signed.
What is the divorce process in Australia?
The divorce application is an online form that you must fill out on the Commonwealth Courts Portal. You will be asked to upload relevant documents, such as your marriage certificate. Then you will pay a fee to file the documents online.
If you have made a sole application you will be prompted to serve the form on your former spouse within a deadline. You will be given a date at which your divorce will be heard at Court, usually in about three months’ time. If applicable, you will need to lodge the documents proving that you have served your former spouse and attend Court. If the Court grants your divorce, then in one month and one day after the Court date your divorce order will be finalised and made available to you through the Commonwealth Courts portal.
But what if? …..
What if I was married overseas?
To be eligible for a divorce, you or your spouse must:
- regard Australia as your home and intend to live in Australia indefinitely, or
- be an Australian citizen by birth, descent or by grant of Australian citizenship, or
- ordinarily live in Australia and have done so for 12 months immediately before filing for divorce
What if I am newly separated?
You will have to have been separated for at least 12 months. If you have been separated but living under the same roof then you will need to provide an affidavit to show that you are separated.
What if I am newly married?
If you have been married for under 2 years then you will need to attend counselling with your former partner or file an affidavit. There also must be no reasonable likelihood that you will get back together.
What if I don’t know where my spouse is?
You must take all reasonable steps to try to locate your former spouse. Then if you still cannot locate them you will need to ask the Court if you can dispense with the need to serve them with the application or if you can serve them in another way, such as via Facebook.
What if I have children?
If you have children with your spouse that are under the age of 18 then you will have to satisfy the Court that you have made arrangements for their care. If you have made a sole application to the Court then you will need to attend the divorce hearing. Otherwise, you will most likely not need to attend the hearing.
How much will this cost?
There is a $900 Court fee associated with divorces currently, although this may be reduced to $300 if you are on eligible Government benefits and in other circumstances.
Why should I choose Sydney Divorce Lawyers to manage my divorce for me?
Some divorces are more complicated than others. If you and your partner are in contact and both would like a divorce, then you should be able to complete the divorce application without the assistance of a lawyer. However, if you have any other complex matters, then it may be worth getting legal representation.
At Koffels, we are experienced with representing clients in the divorce process. We recognise that this is a stressful time and many people do not wish to spend hours on this emotionally draining task. We can support you through this process, as well as provide you with advice on any attendant parenting and financial matters.