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Divorce is a stressful and life-changing event for many people, children and families.
It is often a time of turmoil and anxiety. If you decide to divorce it is important that you take time to care for yourself and your children.
If you are leaving a violent relationship and you feel frightened for your safety, it is advisable that you let your local police know or you contact the domestic violence liaison officer near you.
Divorce does not mean that your financial, property or parenting matters are resolved. However, be aware that if you do get a divorce, you have 12 months from the date of your divorce to arrange your financial affairs with your spouse.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
Who is divorce for?
Divorce advice is for any individual who is married but living separated from their spouse and wants to legally end the marriage. It is also for a husband/wife who has been told that their marriage is over.
What does it mean to ‘get a divorce’?
To get a divorce means that you no longer want to be married. It means you want to legally end your marriage. Getting a divorce is a formal legal process.
How do I get a divorce?
To get a divorce you must prove that your marriage is over or irretrievably broken down. This means that you have separated for 12 months and you have no intention of getting back together again.
Sometimes you can apply for a divorce if you have been living separated under the same roof. You will need to satisfy the court that even though you have lived under the same roof you have lived separate lives.
What do I need to do to get a divorce?
You need to file a divorce application and to attach with it a copy of your marriage certificate and citizenship certificate or passport if you were not born in Australia. If you have children under the age of 18 years, you need to satisfy the court that the children receive adequate education and child support to ensure that they are cared for properly.
You will also need to prove to the court that your spouse is aware of the divorce application (if your divorce is a sole one). You prove this by filing an affidavit of service with the court before the divorce hearing.
My husband/wife doesn’t want to get divorced – what can I do?
In Australia, there is no need to have a joint or agreed divorce. We have a no-fault divorce system and you do not need the agreement of your spouse to divorce. All you need to show the court is that you have lived separate lives for 12 months and your marriage is over.
When should I get divorce advice?
The sooner you get divorce advice the better informed you will be. Divorce advice enables you to understand fully what is involved in getting divorced.
We haven’t sorted out property/financial matters – does that matter?
In Australia, you can get a divorce even if you have not sorted out your property/financial matters.
However, be aware that if you do get a divorce, you have 12 months from the date of your divorce to arrange your financial affairs with your spouse.
I haven’t been separated for 12 months – does that matter?
Yes, it matters. You cannot apply for a divorce unless you have been separated for 12 months.
Have you been married less than two years?
Marriage is a legal commitment. In Australia, if you have been married for less than two years, then you must have counselling before you apply for a divorce. You will need to attach a certificate from the counsellor confirming that you have gone to counselling.
I don’t know where my ex-husband/wife is living, how do I let them know then know I want a divorce?
This is not unusual. We can assist you find your ex-husband/wife and make sure that they know of the divorce.
What does it cost to get a divorce?
There is a court filing fee, which is currently $990 (as of 1 July 2022), or you can this fee reduced if you are experiencing financial hardship. There may also be process server fees and these start from $120.