Going through a separation or divorce is going to be a difficult experience, with many challenges along the way. If you are considering separation or divorce right now we know it means you are experiencing stress, anxiety and uncertainty.
First, take a deep breath. Separation and divorce is like driving to a new city. You know which direction to go, but you don’t know what to expect along the way. For some people the process of separating and divorcing is like driving straight down the highway, with no surprises or speed bumps along the way. For others, they may end up taking a few side roads and scenic routes along the way.
It all depends on many different factors, which is why we advise you that no matter what you’ve seen or heard from other people’s separations, your own situation is entirely unique.
If you’re married, then you need to be separated for at least a year before you can file for divorce. However, you can start resolving matters regarding children and property as soon as you’re separated (i.e. you don’t need to be divorced first).
Separating doesn’t involve any formal procedures. In most cases, you and your partner simply agree the marriage (or de-facto relationship) is over and physically go your separate ways. If you don’t physically separate for some reason (e.g. unresolved interim financial or parenting issues), you should get professional advice.
But whatever happens, you need to know when you separated as it determines:
- when you might be eligible to apply for a Divorce Order (marriage)
- the time limit for filing any application for financial orders (de-facto relationship).
So you should keep a record of when you and your partner separated.
A Divorce Order simply dissolves a marriage. It doesn’t determine any matters regarding property or children.
In Australia there’s only one ground for divorce—the marriage has broken down irretrievably. To establish this fact, you both need to be separated for a year or more before you can file for divorce. (And no, the time can’t be shortened.)
You don’t have to be married in Australia to be divorced in Australia. However, at least one of you must be an Australian citizen or ordinarily resident in Australia for a year before filing the application.
Once the Court makes a Divorce order, it will issue a Certificate of Divorce a month later.
Want to Know More?
If you’re concerned about the practicalities of separation, or think you might be eligible for a Divorce, contact us for an initial consultation.