Divorce (or dissolution of a marriage as it is also known) can be as straightforward or as complicated as the marriage itself. Most people find themselves in a situation where they don’t know when or how to apply for divorce. While it is possible to undertake divorce proceedings yourself, because of the emotions involved in ending the marriage and relationship, it is advisable to engage a lawyer experienced in family law.
You may also find our previous post useful: Divorce in Australia – What You Need to Know
Process for how to apply for divorce
When a couple has come to the decision that they want to divorce, the first thing they need to do is separate. A couple must be separated for at least 12 months before they can make application to divorce.
After the requisite timeframe, the couple would complete and submit a divorce application form. When both parties complete the form together this is a joint application and would generally be considered an amicable approach.
If the application is being done by one party to the divorce, then the application would need to be served on the other party. Once the application is complete and submitted to the court, a hearing date will be set. If the divorce application is successful, a court order will be granted. The order comes into effect one month and one day after the hearing.
To apply for divorce in Australia you or your spouse must:
- Have been separated for 12 months prior to application with no chance or reconciliation, and
- Regard Australia as your home and intend to live in Australia permanently, or
- Be an Australian citizen, or
- Live in Australia and have been living here for 12 months prior to applying.
If you object to the application for divorce
If you have an objection to the divorce or the facts with in the application, you should submit a response to divorce. A Response to divorce submission must be filed within 28 days of the original application being served and it also requires you to attend the hearing in person.