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Divorces in Australia

Divorces are a life changing event and can prove to be a difficult path to navigate. For those people considering embarking this journey, or those currently on it, here is some information that may be of use.


In Australia, parties to a marriage are required by law to obtain a court ordered divorce should they wish to terminate the marriage. Without this being issued, they cannot remarry.  Separation, no matter how long, still does not terminate the marriage. There is a process that must be followed to finalise matters. With a marriage still intact, there are obligations parties must comply with, so it is imperative that it is done properly.

Many people seeking a divorce incorrectly assume that in order for them to obtain a divorce, they need to establish a case for such an order to be made. In some cases, this can open up a mud-slinging contest between spouses where both attempt to blame each other for any number of grievances. While once upon a time this may have been the case, it's no longer required. Australian law now provides for a ‘no-fault’ divorce which facilitates a more efficient, diplomatic and peaceful process for those involved.

Requirements for a successful application

The test that the court now places on applicants to a divorce is to establish that their relationship has broken down irretrievably and that that there is no realistic chance of it being repaired.

Another key requirement for a divorce order to be made is that a 12 month period of separation has taken place before the application is filed. While there are exceptions to this rule, these only apply in extreme circumstances. If there are uncertainties or disagreements between the parties as to when separation occurred, additional evidence will be required, including  a third party affidavit confirming separation dates.

No two relationships are the same, and there are often additional elements and evidence that the court requires when dealing with your application for divorce. For instance, if there are children below the age of 18, the court will require information demonstrating that proper arrangements for the care, welfare and development of the children have been made between the parties. If there is a parenting plan or orders in place then this requirement can be easily met.

Final Process

Once a divorce order is made by the court, the marriage is then terminated. After a period of one month and one day, the parties are then free to remarry. The court will make the orders and these orders will state that the marriage is terminated. This will then take effect after a period of one month and one day from the date of the orders.

Disclaimer: This article provides generic information only and is not intended to be legal advice and should not be used as such. If you have any queries regarding your family law matters, please contact the family law team.

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