Issuu on Google+

Getting A Divorce in Australia: A Step-by-Step Guide

Brisbane | Gold Coast | Sunshine Coast | Queensland, Australia, T 61 7 3220 1299, F 61 7 3220 1277, www.hhfamilylaw.com.au


Getting A Divorce in Australia: A Step-by-Step Guide You can apply for a divorce in Australia if either you or your spouse regard Australia as your home and intend to live in Australia indefinitely, or are an Australian citizen by birth, descent or by grant of Australian citizenship, or ordinarily live in Australia and have done so for 12 months immediately before filling for divorce. The grounds for divorce in Australia are very simple. You just have to prove in the court of law that your marriage is broken irretrievably and cannot be mended. This has to be proven by a year of separation by the spouses. You need to stay separated for some period, which may be unique for each state in Australia. The whole process can be broken down in legal stages namely: dissolving the marriage, financial procedures, and childcare arrangements.

Firstly, you or your lawyer can complete an application for divorce using the Application for Divorce Kit that includes step-by-step instructions on how to complete the application and other accompanying documents. This can electronically be filed through the Commonwealth Courts Portal (www.comcourts.gov.au). Also it’s good to see the User Guide to eFiling Divorce Applications in Family Law available at that site for better guidance. What follows is the affirmation and signing of the Application for Divorce before a lawyer, Justice of the Peace or other person authorised to witness affidavits in your Australian state or territory. Ideally, you have to make two photocopies of the completed and signed Application for Divorce and any other supporting documents. Prepare your original and two copies of the Application for Divorce, and a copy of your marriage certificate which can be filed, by hand or post, at a family law registry. You also need to pay a fee or you may be eligible for a fee reduction. You can apply for this by filing the Application for Reduction of Court Fees form. If you were not born in Australia and intend to rely upon your Australian citizenship as a ground to apply for a divorce in Australia, you must also file a copy of your Australian citizenship certificate, Australian passport or other proof of citizenship. The Court then gives you a file number and a time and date for a hearing. If you jointly apply, the Court will keep your original Application for Divorce and give you and your spouse a sealed copy of the application and an information brochure 'Marriage, Families and Separation'. If you apply on your own, the Court will keep your original Application for Divorce and give you two copies of the sealed application and information brochure 'Marriage, Families and Separation'. You must also serve a sealed copy of the Application for Divorce and information brochure on your spouse: at least 28 days before the hearing if your husband or wife is in Australia at least 42 days before the hearing date if your husband or wife is overseas. If there is no child of the marriage aged under 18 years, you are not required to attend the court hearing. This applies for both sole and joint applications. If you have made a joint application and there is a child of the marriage aged under 18 years, neither you nor your spouse are required to attend the court hearing. If you have made a sole application and there is a child of the marriage aged under 18 years, you must attend the court hearing unless circumstances prevent you from attending. You may also be able to attend by telephone. If your divorce application is successful, the Court will grant a divorce order. The order becomes final one month and one day after it is made, unless it is shortened by order of the Court.

Brisbane | Gold Coast | Sunshine Coast | Queensland, Australia, T 61 7 3220 1299, F 61 7 3220 1277, www.hhfamilylaw.com.au


Once the divorce order becomes final, the Court will send a divorce order to you and your spouse individually, or to your lawyer if you have one. Do not assume that the divorce will be granted at the first court hearing. For example, you may be told at the hearing that you need to provide more information.

Brisbane | Gold Coast | Sunshine Coast | Queensland, Australia, T 61 7 3220 1299, F 61 7 3220 1277, www.hhfamilylaw.com.au


Getting A Divorce in Australia: A Step by Step Guide