10 things to consider before contacting a divorce law firm

Date: Feb 27, 2014

It's never easy getting a divorce. If you find yourself in a situation where you think it's time for you and your spouse to go your separate ways, a divorce law firm can help you get your application for a divorce underway.

There are a number of factors you'll need to take into consideration before making this step, however. The following are just a few:

1) Australia operates under no-fault divorce laws, as outlined in the Family Law Act 1975. This basically means the Family Law Courts will not take why you and your partner are getting a divorce into consideration when deciding whether or not to approve your application.

2) You must have been separated from your spouse for a year in order to apply for a divorce. Normally this would involve living apart from your spouse for that period of time; however, it is possible to demonstrate to the Family Law Courts that you are separated but still live together.

3) In general, there are only two grounds on which you can oppose a divorce: you have not been separated from your spouse for at least 12 months prior to your application for a divorce, and the Family Law Courts do not have jurisdiction.

4) You can only apply for a divorce in Australia if you regard this country to be your home and "intend to live in Australia indefinitely".

5) You are entitled to apply for a divorce either with your partner (a joint application) or by yourself (a sole application).

6) If you've filed an application on your own, you are required to "serve it" on your spouse.

7) If you and your ex-spouse have children under the age of 18, the Family Law Courts will only approve your application for a divorce if and when it has been proven that appropriate child custody arrangements have been made.

8) There are special rules for couples who have been married for less than two years that want a divorce. These include attending family counselling sessions and / or requesting permission from the Family Law Courts to apply for a divorce.

9) You are not usually required to attend a hearing at the Family Law Courts if you don't have any children under the age of 18 or you filed a joint application. 

10) You can either put together an application for divorce yourself or get a family lawyer to help you out with it. We recommend the latter option, as this will make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.