The process of applying for divorce

Date: Jan 10, 2013

When a marriage breaks down, divorce is a real possibility and even though the term is mentioned frequently in life, the process is not widely known.

To be eligible to begin proceedings, it is required that you and your spouse have been separated for at least a year. The Court must be satisfied that there is no chance of reconciliation and it should be noted that it is possible to live together in the same home and still be separated under the one roof.

To be eligible for divorce in Australia, you or your spouse must regard Australia as your home and intend to live in the country indefinitely, have been living in the country for a year immediately before filing for divorce or are Australian citizens.

There are two methods of applying for a divorce. A joint application is where both parties apply for divorce together. A sole application refers to one spouse applying for divorce of their own accord, with the other spouse then referred to as the Respondent.

A divorce application can be best filled out by a divorce lawyer as they have the skills to ensure that all the boxes are ticked.

The reason why the relationship came to an end is not considered a relevant factor for the grant of a Divorce Order under the Family Law Act 1975. The only relevant factor is whether the marriage has irretrievably broken down; that is, it is truly over.

If there are minors involved in the process, a Court will not grant a divorce unless it is satisfied that proper arrangements for their care, welfare and development have been made.


With sole applications, the respondent has few grounds to object to the divorce unless there is a dispute with the length of separation or there is a jurisdictional issue.

Applicants are not required to attend divorce hearings, whether it is a sole or joint application, on the proviso that there are no children under the age of 18.

A joint application where there are minors involved does not require the presence of either parties; however, a one sided application does necessitate the attendance of the parties.

Child custody agreements aren't handled by divorce proceedings. This means that both parties can agree to a parenting arrangement and lodge Consent Orders with the Court for its consideration. In the event that parties are unable to reach a consensual decision, parenting proceedings may need to be commenced with the Court. In any event, the Court will only make Orders that are in the best interests of the children.

For marriages that break down in less than two years, it is mandatory to attend counselling with your spouse in an attempt of reconciliation or otherwise seek permission from the Court to file for divorce.

Talk to a divorce law firm to discuss your options if your marriage does become untenable.