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Our Family Law Team

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After the breakdown of a marriage, sooner or later one of the parties will want to formalise their separation by getting a Divorce.

What is ‘Divorce’?

A ‘Divorce’ is set of Orders made by the Family Court, which together have the effect of ending of a marriage. Divorce is separate from the ending of the parties' financial relationship. However, once a Divorce is obtained, the parties have 12 months to file an Application with the Family Court to finalise their financial relationship.

People choose to Divorce for a variety of reasons. Some do so because they wish to remarry, some do so to achieve a clean break from the marriage, and others do so to begin the time limit for the other party to bring an Application for financial settlement.

Whatever the reason, it is important to understand that the Divorce process is not instant and can take some time to be finalised, even when all the steps are completed correctly. Provided everything runs smoothly, you can expect the process to take about 4 to 5 months from the date of filing an Application for Divorce.

How do I obtain a Divorce?

The steps required to obtain a Divorce differ depending on the parties' circumstances. In all cases, the first step to obtain a Divorce is to file an Application for Divorce with the Family Court, setting out that the parties have been separated for one year and that there is no reasonable chance they will reconcile the marriage.

An Application for Divorce may be filed by one party alone, or by both parties together. After an Application has been filed, a Divorce Hearing will be scheduled, where the Court will decide whether or not to grant the Application for Divorce.

Potential complications in obtaining a Divorce

Depending on the circumstances, there may be additional requirements for the Court to grant an Application for Divorce.

If children are involved, the Court must be satisfied that the arrangements for their care are adequate.

Where an Application is filed by one party alone, further documents must be filed to prove that the other party has been properly served with the Application, in accordance with the Family Law Rules. If a party is not able to serve the other party in accordance with the Family Law Rules, they must apply to the Court must to permit the other party to be served in another way, or not at all.

Once the other party has been served with the Application, they may choose to file a Response to the Application for Divorce, if they disagree with the facts included in the Application. The Court may require the parties to provide further evidence about the disputed facts, before it considers whether to grant the Application for Divorce.  

Further requirements apply if the parties lived together under one roof after they separated, or if the Application for Divorce is being made within two years of the parties being married.

Where to from here?

While obtaining a Divorce can be simple, small errors or missteps can significantly delay the process, particularly where the Court has imposed additional requirements. Delay in obtaining a Divorce can cause emotional stress, especially where the parties are not amicable, or where one party plans to re-marry.

If all the requirements are met and the Application for Divorce is granted, the Divorce Orders will not take effect for a further 1 month and 1 day after the Divorce Hearing.

If you would like assistance with obtaining a Divorce, please contact our Family Law team. .