Initiating a Divorce

20th December 2018

Posted in: News

It’s a fact of life that one in every three marriages in Australia end in divorce. While the process of obtaining a divorce might sound daunting, it is important to remember that it is not the end of the world and there are people here to help. The first step for you is to understand the divorce process and what exactly it entails.

Am I eligible for a divorce?

In order to apply for a divorce, you will need to have been married for two years (or comply with certain requirements) and separated for a period of 12 months. Additionally, either you or your spouse will need to:

  • be an Australian citizen; or
  • live in Australia and consider it your permanent home; or
  • normally live in Australia and have lived here for at least 12 months before applying for a divorce; and

Your marriage must have broken down and there must be no reasonable likelihood that you will get back together. There must also be appropriate arrangements in place for any children of the marriage.

What if we reconcile the relationship?

It is often the case that couples will reconcile after separating and try to work things out. If you try this for a couple of months but it doesn’t work out, don’t stress, you can get back together for up to 3 months without restarting the 12 month separation period. However, you can only resume cohabitation on one occasion.

A good example of this would be if:

  • you separated from your partner for 4 months;
  • you got back together for almost 3 months; and
  • then separate again for 8 months.

If this were the case, you’ll still be considered to be separated for a total of 12 months. However, if you and your partner were back together for 4 months or longer, only the 8 months after you separated again would count as the separation period and you would not be able to apply for a divorce for another 4 months.

What are the costs involved?

The Courts charge a fee of $900 just to consider your application, although it is possible to apply to the Court to have this reduced under certain circumstances. A lawyer would also charge you a fee to prepare your application and potentially appear on your behalf should your appearance in Court be required.

Do I have to go to Court?

Personal appearance by the Applicant before the Court is typically not required in divorce proceedings.

If a Court appearance is required in your matter, we can appear on your behalf. An appearance before the Court may be necessary in circumstances where an unusual application to the Court must be made, or where the application contains significant complexities.

When will the Divorce be finalised?

Once your divorce application has been prepared and executed, it will be necessary to file this with the Court for allocation of a hearing date. Due to a large backlog of matters, this hearing date may not be for 2-3 months until after the divorce was originally filed.

In the event that the divorce is granted at the hearing, the Court will make a formal Order to this effect. The Divorce Order will then come into effect one month and one day after the date it is made by the Court.

However, it is important to note that unforeseen circumstances and complications often arise in the preparation and service of divorce documents. In the event that this occurs, your hearing date may be adjourned and delayed for a significant amount of time. As such, it is important to ensure that your application is drafted and served correctly to prevent and unforeseen delays.

What Happens to My Property?

Unfortunately, simply obtaining a divorce order may not be the end of your separation. A divorce and  a property settlement is often misconstrued and thought of as one in the same. This could not be further from the truth. Separated parties can have a property settlement without getting divorced and parties seeking to divorce do not necessarily have to have a property settlement.

The team at CSD Law can assist you with your property settlement and ensure that you receive your full entitlement under the law

What happens to my children?

Before granting a Divorce Order, the Court must ensure that proper arrangements have been made for any children of the relationship. The application requires that you provide details regarding the children’s:

  • time and communication with either parent;
  • living arrangements and financial support;
  • health; and
  • education.

The team at CSD Law can assist if you and your former partner cannot come to an agreement regarding appropriate arrangements for your children.

How can we help?

At CSD Law, we deal with applications for divorce on a  daily basis. We take the hassle out of drafting your divorce application and guide you through every step of the process. If you or someone you know would like advice regarding how to get a divorce, contact the team at CSD Law on 1300 883 282 or email us