Applying for a divorce in Australia

Date: Jul 09, 2012

In order for a divorce to be legally recognised in Australia, there are various avenues that need to be followed.

Seeking advice from family lawyers is the best way to ensure that all the legal requirements are met, but there are several things that you will need to bear in mind.

For example, to apply for a divorce, either your or your spouse needs to regard Australia as their home, plan to live in the country indefinitely or be an Australian citizen.

This means being Australian by birth, descent or grant of citizenship - alternatively, you must ordinarily live in Australia or have done so for a year before making the application.

In Australia, there is a requirement for spouses to be separated for at least 12 months before they can make a divorce application.

This can mean either one person moving out of the shared residence, or living separately under one roof.

Once you are satisfied that this criteria can be met, you will need to complete an application for divorce, file it with the court and pay the necessary application charge.

It is possible for you and your spouse to apply for the divorce together, however, if you decide to do it yourself then you are classed as the sole applicant and your spouse is the respondent.

Of course, many divorces will involve children, so Australian law requires that they are properly accommodated in the event of a separation.

Arrangements that have been made for the children need to be laid out in the application for divorce form - it is unlikely that a divorce will be granted until the children are properly looked after.

Provisions made through the Family Law Act 1975 mean that the principle of no-fault exists in Australian law, which means that the courts will not consider what caused the marriage to break down.

As a result, the only ground for divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and that there is no likely reason why the couple will get back together again.

Should either party wish to contest the divorce, they will need to file a response to divorce and appear in person on the date of the hearing - the grounds for dismissal need to be clearly stated.