A divorce will nearly always be a time that's both stressful and seemingly complicated, as you'll have to navigate a number of legal processes while liasing with your former partner.
Speaking with a divorce lawyer is a good idea, but it is also important to understand how to manage the process. This means taking a look at the various processes and legal requirements that are involved at every stage.
There are two important time frame considerations for divorce.
Firstly, you need to prove that you've been separated from your spouse for at least 12 months before applying for a divorce through the court.
Secondly, if you have been married for a period of less than two years, you and your partner will be required to attend marriage counselling before your application for divorce will be accepted. However, there are certain circumstances in which a court may allow you to bypass this process and file a divorce application without counselling.
One of the crucial principles applicable to divorce proceedings in Australia is a no-fault divorce. Under Australian law, this means that the courts do not consider why the marriage actually ended and, when applying for a divorce, you do not need to establish reasons for divorce or identify a 'guilty party'.
All you need to show to the court to obtain a divorce is that your marriage has broken down, with no chance of a reconciliation, and that you have been separated from your spouse for at least 12 months. However, if there are children under the age of 18 involved, the court will only grant a divorce if it is satisfied that the parents have put suitable arrangements in place for the care of the children post divorce.
When applying for divorce, you'll need to swear or affirm your application and sign it before a witness. Accepted witnesses are either a:
- Justice of the Peace or
Opposing a divorce
You are only able to oppose a divorce where there has not been 12 months separation as alleged in the divorce application or when a court doesn't have jurisdiction.
Opposing a divorce means filling out and filing a Response to Divorce, as well as appearing at the hearing date.
Given the complexity of the divorce process, and the substantial number of legal considerations, don't hesitate to reach out for expert guidance. It's nearly always going to be easier if you have the assistance of someone who understands the process.