Am I able to apply for a divorce?

February 1, 2016

One of the single most stressful events that occur in anyone’s life is when a couple reaches a point in their relationship beyond a state of repair. At the point of commencement of a relationship, no one expects or foresees that life together with their partner may come to an abrupt conclusion.

Going through a divorce can be troublesome for many – on top of the pain associated with the breakdown of a once loving relationship, there is the daunting task of facing the complexities of the legal system. This can often lead to a great deal of frustration as you begin to attempt to disentangle the situation at hand. For some, this may represent the start of a new chapter in their lives. Regardless of your situation, the Courts are established to serve a function, that being to deal with these types of matters.

In Australia, there are certain rules that must be followed in order to get a divorce. Among other factors, you are able to get a divorce you are an Australian citizen, have resided in Australia for a year, or view Australia as your long-term home. In addition to this, and most importantly, you will need to demonstrate to the Court that you have been separated from your spouse for a period of at least one year. Finally, the Court must be convinced that there is, unfortunately, no chance of reconciliation. The divorce process can be initiated by one or both spouses filing an Application for Divorce. This can be completed with aid of a solicitor with experience in this area of law. Once the application is lodged with the Court, a date will be set for issue to be considered. Prior to this, the matter of service must be dealt with. If only one spouse is filing the application a copy of it will also have to be formally served on the other spouse. In that case the spouse who hasn’t made the application will have a chance to respond to it if he or she chooses to do so.

At this point, it is important to consider any other issues that may arise as a result of the breakdown in the marriage. These issues may include parenting arrangements of any children to the marriage, property settlements or maintenance payments. Given that you are only able to apply for a divorce after one year of separation, it is likely that these issues have already been dealt with. Getting the help of a lawyer can certainly make this any easier process. It is entirely optional however, there is no substitute for engaging someone who regularly completes the process and is able to explain what will occur. There are obviously certain issues that arise that require the work of a solicitor in instances such as handling special circumstances like having been married for less than two years, being ‘separated under the one roof’ or having been married overseas.

Regardless of the particular situation, divorce can be a challenging time in anyone’s life and it is of some comfort, that there are family lawyers available to assist should the process be too overwhelming.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general overview of the subject matter and is not be relied upon as giving legal advice. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.