Divorce and Separation

Our family lawyers are highly experienced in the areas of separation, de facto relationships, and divorce for all sex couples.

Separation is the important time and issue and divorce is the highly symbolic and formal end of the relationship, but actually less important. Most is  legally achieved after separation and before divorce. There must be twelve months separation before a divorce can be applied for.  That’s too long to wait unless things are quite amicable.  In Australia, since 1976, there is no requirement of fault to obtain a divorce. “Irretrievable breakdown” of marriage is proved by a separation period of twelve months. Parties may be separated under the one roof for twelve months, but  better evidence is required to prove this.

Divorce, which is the Court’s declaration that a marriage no longer exists, triggers another twelve-month rule. Once the divorce proceedings have been finalised, the property settlement must be commenced within twelve months’ time. Many clients choose to formally finish all financial arrangements prior to the divorce procedure. When the Court is satisfied that all criteria for a divorce has been met, then it will be ordered. It will then become absolute in a month, on the basis of there being no appeal. At this point you are free to remarry.

If you engage a divorce lawyer, you do not need to attend court.  When children under 18 are involved a court, appearance is required by either a lawyer or the spouse and the Court will not approve  divorce until satisfied matters relating to children are satisfactory.  This is somewhat more complex.  When children are over eighteen years old, Court attendance is not required but may be recommended.

We recommend seeking legal advice before applying for divorce. The majority of separating couples will also require arrangements for property and/or children’s matters and in these circumstances legal advice is always recommended.

As well as the simpler divorces we have helped many clients in the difficult areas of divorce including:

  • Proving separation under one roof;
  • Disputed separation dates;
  • Urgent divorces, where a new marriage is desired;
  • Difficult to find and serve ex-spouses;
  • Contested divorces;
  • Overseas marriages;
  • Choosing the right country to get divorced in;
  • Cases where the children’s arrangements are not obviously satisfactory.

If you’re separating and want more information on your legal rights, or need help negotiating financial, property and parenting issues, please contact us on 9793 7888 to discuss your situation.