In Australia, the only ground for divorce is that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. To establish this ground, you and your spouse need to be separated for a continuous period of at least 12 months immediately before you file an application for divorce.
Application for Divorce
An application includes basic information about yourself and your spouse, details about your marriage (such as where you married and for how long you were married), when you and your spouse separated and whether you have any children under the age of 18 (and if so, some details about them).
Cost of Divorce
The Family Court charges a filing fee of $800 for an application for divorce. However, you might be eligible for a reduced fee ($265) if, for example, you have a health care card, or receive a government pension.
Once you have successful filed your application, you will receive a date on which the divorce will be heard (i.e. your divorce hearing, which may be listed up to 8-12 weeks after you have filed your application).
At least 28 days before the hearing, you must either post the application to your spouse, or arrange to have the application personally served. This is so that your spouse has notice of the application and the details of the divorce hearing.
At the divorce hearing, if the Court considers you have properly served your spouse with your divorce application and all your papers are in order, the Court will make a divorce order which automatically becomes final one month and one day after the hearing.
Sometimes, in special circumstances, it is possible to have your divorce order take effect in less than one month from the divorce hearing.
If you have been married for less than 2 years, in addition to your application for divorce, you and your spouse will need to attend counselling to confirm that you have considered reconciliation. You will then receive a certificate which will need to be attached to your application for divorce before it is filed at the Court.
Separation Under One Roof
If you and your spouse separated but continued to live under the same roof, it is still possible to make an application for divorce if you and a witness (such as a close friend or family member) can provide evidence to say that your marriage had irretrievably broken down, even though you were still living together.
If you need assistance with filing an application for divorce, please contact Carr & Co on 9322 8000 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.