What does divorce mean

Divorce is the ending of a marriage, in Australia we have a no-fault system which means that no person is at fault for the relationship ending.

To obtain a divorce, you and your spouse need to consider the marriage irretrievably broken down and it is not likely you will re-commence your relationship. You must also be separated for over 12 months before applying for a divorce.

It is possible to obtain a Divorce if you live under the one roof but live separate lives. It is even possible if you get back together for a cumulative period of 3 months without the need to re-start the 12-month separation period. However, if these circumstances arise, the court will need more information from the parties to ensure they can grant the divorce. At the Family Lawyer we can provide you with comprehensive advice and assistance regarding your divorce to ensure you application will be accepted and granted.

Applying for divorce

To apply for a divorce you must ensure you meet the eligibility criteria which requires either you or your spouse to:

  • Regard Australia as your home and intend to live in Australia indefinitely
  • Are an Australian citizen by birth, descent or by grant of Australian citizenship
  • Ordinarily live in Australia and have done so for 12 months before filing for divorce.

The application will be made to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia via the Commonwealth Courts portal.

You can make an application on your own or jointly with your spouse. After the application has been finalised, it must be served on the other party (if you are making a sole application).

At the Family Lawyer, our Divorce Lawyer can deal with this process for you. We aim to take the stress out of the process and finalise your divorce quickly and efficiently.

What can go wrong

We take the time to discuss your situation and assess the risk factors or matters that need to be clearly presented to the court to ensure your application is not requisitioned. For example, if there are children under the age of 18, the court requires extra information be provided in an appropriate form to show them the children will be cared for.

Difference between Divorce, Property, Children, or Maintenance Matters

Divorce is purely the ending of a marriage, decisions around property, parenting or maintenance are a separate process which requires you to make an agreement between you and your spouse or seek orders from the court.

You can apply for a divorce after you finalise arrangements for property, parenting, or maintenance. Alternatively, you can obtain a divorce first and then deal with property, parenting, or maintenance matters. However, an application must be made within 12 months of the date on the divorce order. If this is not done within 12 months, you will have to apply for leave of the court. There is no guarantee this will be approved, and you may lose the opportunity to have property, parenting, or maintenance issues resolved.

Looking for information about Separation or International Divorce?


    Frequently Asked Questions

    – If there are no children under 18, you are not required to go to court.

    – If you and your spouse make a joint application, you do not need to go to court to attend the hearing.

    – If you make a sole application with children under the age of 18, you will be required to go to court to attend the hearing.

    Your divorce will not be final until one month after the date of your Divorce Order from the court. After this, you can re-marry.

    If you reconcile with your spouse for less than 3 months it will not affect your ability to file for divorce. However, the period of reconciliation must be added to the period of separation so that it adds up to at least 12 months.

    The timing varies depending on the caseload of the court however the usual time is less than three months from the date of filing. If you have children under the age of 18 years, the court will also want to know that proper arrangements have been made for the care and welfare of the children before granting the divorce.

    If you have no contact with your spouse, you will need to make a sole application for divorce. You will still need to serve the application on your spouse, which will be challenging. This would require all reasonable attempts be made to try and locate your spouse. If this is unsuccessful, an application to the court can be made to dispense the need to serve the documents or serve via alternative methods.

    What our clients say…

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