The things that you remember from your wedding day are usually the romantic and fun moments with your new spouse, family and friends. Somewhere in the proceedings though you signed a document in the presence of witnesses that made the whole ceremony legally binding. As a result, if things don’t work out and you want a divorce, there are more legalities to be observed. While media may make it seem like an easy thing to do, there are a few steps involved in getting a divorce.
So how do you go about getting a divorce?
In Australia, Part VI of the Family Law Act 1975 enabled the Federal Circuit Court the authority to implement the dissolution of marriage. To get a divorce an application needs to be lodged with the Federal Circuit Court.
For the application to be considered there are a few requirements that you must meet:
Applicants must consider Australia to be their home and intend to remain living there. This means you either need to be an Australian citizen or have lived in Australia continually for a minimum of twelve months. Documentation such as passports or citizenship certificates will be required as proof of this.
The married couple needs to have been separated for a period of twelve months. The couple can still be considered separated while living under the same roof. Affidavits confirming this will also need to be included in the application. For marriages lasting less than two years there are additional requirements. There’s still a twelve-month separation requirement, but the couple must also attend counselling, discussing the possibility of reconciliation, and provide a counselling certificate. Applicants can apply without counselling by providing an affidavit that gives reasons why a counselling session hasn’t taken place and any special circumstances.
The application will also require that one or both spouses considers that the marriage is broken down without any hope of reconciliation. Ideally the divorce is a joint application, this means one party won’t have to serve the other with the divorce and the cost of the application can be shared.
If you have children under eighteen years old, details of all arrangements, living, education, custody and financial are required in the application.
Of course, to lodge the divorce application you will have to deliver proof of the marriage. This is in the form of your marriage certificate. This can be a copy. If the certificate is from another country and in another language, a translation and Affidavit Translation of Marriage Certificate will also have to be included.
Once the application is filed the court will set a date for a Divorce Hearing. It is important to note that the court will not take into consideration why the marriage has ended, only that there is no chance of reconciliation. This hearing will not decide parenting arrangements or property division.
There isn’t always a requirement to attend the hearing. If you are a sole or joint applicant and have no children under eighteen, you aren’t required to attend. If you do have children under eighteen and submitted a joint application your attendance also isn’t required. If you have filed a sole application and have children under eighteen you will need to attend the hearing. Any respondents that oppose the application must also be present at the hearing.
In the case that you are unable to be present at the hearing you can make request to attend via telephone or video link.
Once all requirements are met and the hearing is complete the court will grant the divorce. One month from the hearing the divorce becomes final and both parties are issued with the divorce order.
Are you going through a divorce application or have a loved one who is? Contact us at CM Lawyers for advice and information from one of our Family Law Solicitors.