After the end of a marriage, sooner or later one of the parties will want to formalise their separation by getting a divorce.
A divorce is the legal ending of a marriage and 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 to finalise their financial relationship, which otherwise continues until that 12 month period lapses.
Different people choose to divorce at different times. Some do so because they wish to remarry, some do so for a clean break and others do so strategically, to limit the time in which the other party can bring an application for property or maintenance orders.
Whatever your reason, it is important to understand that a divorce 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.
The steps required to obtain a divorce differ depending on the parties' circumstances, including whether they have children and whether they wish to amicably divorce or not. In all cases, the first step is for an Application for Divorce to be filed with the Court. This may be filed by one party alone (a sole application), or by both parties together (a joint application).v Where a sole application is filed, further documents must be filed with the Court to prove that the other party has been properly served. After an application has been filed and the other party has been properly served, a Divorce Hearing is scheduled, at which time the Court will decide whether or not to grant the Divorce. If children are involved, the Court must be satisfied that the arrangements for their care are adequate. If the Divorce order is granted, the divorce does not take effect for a further 1 month and 1 day.
While divorce applications can sometimes be simple, small errors or missteps in the above procedure can significantly delay the parties from obtaining a divorce. This can cause undue emotional stress, especially in cases where the parties are in high conflict or where one plans to re-marry. Other difficulties may arise where the parties were married overseas or when one party does not wish to divorce.
For more information or assistance about obtaining a divorce, please contact us.