The most important thing to understand about Divorce is that it is about ending the marriage, but doesn’t finalise a property settlement or parenting arrangements.
In Australia, we have a ‘no-fault’ divorce system. That means that the only ground for divorce is that the parties have been separated for 1 year before the Application is made. Separation doesn’t mean living in separate houses either – it’s quite common to be separated under the one roof. The only issue for a Divorce is that further evidence is required.
Under Australian Family Law ‘separation’ occurs when one person forms the intention to end the relationship, they communicate it to the other party and then something in the way that the parties organize their lives changes. For many people when separation occurred can be hard to answer. It may or may not matter in the end, but it is important to understand.
An application for Divorce can be made by both parties jointly or by one party on their own. If it’s a sole applicant then the other party has to be served in the proper way and the Court needs to be satisfied that service happened within the correct time frame.
If there are children under the age of 18 and it’s a sole application for Divorce then the Applicant or their lawyer needs to attend Court. Whenever there are children of the marriage under the age of 18 the Court needs to be satisfied that the arrangements for the children are in all the circumstances ‘proper’. That is different to the test the Court applies to what the arrangements should be.
The Family Court Website has lots of useful information about Divorce. You can read that here
Divorce can also have unintended consequences. Divorce can affect a person’s Will, entitlement to superannuation or insurances or the ability to structure a property settlement in a tax effective way.
We can give you advice about what the implications of divorce would be in your case and we can help you with the process either by taking all the steps for you or by answering your questions along the way. If you’d like to talk to us call us on 03 8376 7000 or send us a message to set up and appointment.