Divorce is the legal end of a marriage.

The only ground for divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and separation for 12 months.

It does not matter who was at fault or whether one spouse does not want a divorce. You must show the court that you have not been living as a married couple for at least twelve (12) months and that you will not get back together. The only way to stop a divorce is to show that this has not occurred. Reconciliation attempts during this 12 months period are possible without affecting the running of the 12 months. If you have any queries about this, please contact our family lawyers at Eales & Mackenzie.

A divorce does not deal with issues such as who the children live with, child support or the division of property.

People married less than two years cannot apply for divorce unless they first get a certificate from a counsellor, stating they have attended marriage counselling and that reconciliation is unlikely, or they have other special reasons to obtain a divorce. At Eales & Mackenzie, we can assist you in applying for a divorce and obtaining this Certificate.

Applying For A Divorce

The only ground for divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. It does not matter who was at fault or whether one spouse does not want a divorce. You must show the court that you have not been living as a married couple for at least twelve months and that you will not get back together.

Either you or your spouse, or both of you together can make an application for a divorce. Generally, divorce applications are made in the Federal Circuit Court with the filing fee of about $800. If you cannot afford to pay the fee without financial hardship, apply for the fee to be waived using the waiver form.

Eales & Mackenzie can offer advice and help you fill in the divorce forms. If there is a difficulty writing English or some other complication Eales & Mackenzie family lawyers can make the divorce application for you and assist in completing it. If you do not know the whereabouts of your former partner it is still possible to get a divorce but the application is more complicated and legal advice should be sought from Eales & Mackenzie as you may need to obtain an order for “Substituted Service” by post or other means.

The divorce papers include questions about the care of any children under 18 years of age (note: this can include any child who was living with the husband and wife at the time of separation). The form also asks about their housing, health, schooling and who resides in the household. Although the court has to approve the arrangements about the children in order to grant a divorce, they do not become orders of the court and are not binding on you.

The person applying for the divorce (or his or her lawyer) must normally appear at the court hearing if there are children under 18 years. Your spouse does not have to attend unless he or she wants to argue against a divorce or has something else to tell the court.

If there are no children under 18 years of age you can state on the form that you do not want to attend court. However you must attend if your spouse wants to oppose the divorce. You can take a friend or relative with you but children are not allowed inside the court room. Family Law Courts have a limited child minding service for parents attending court, which must be booked in advance.

You will receive a certificate from the court one month after the court makes a divorce order. From that time you are free to remarry and no time before.