How do I apply for a divorce?
Either party to a marriage (or both together) can make a divorce application once they have been separated from their spouse for a period of not less than 12 months. Applications for divorce are brought in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. There is a filing fee payable to the Court when filing an Application for Divorce. It may take up to three months for a divorce to be finalised from the time of filing your application.
How is separation defined?
Parties are “separated” when at least one person communicates their intention to the other party that the relationship has ended, and both parties no longer live together as husband and wife.
What happens to my children?
If there are children, the Court must be satisfied that proper arrangements have been made for the care of your children before granting a divorce.
When is my divorce legal?
Normally, a Divorce Order takes effect, and is therefore final, one month after the Court makes the Divorce Order.
Separation under one roof – can I still apply for a divorce even if we have been living in the same home?
If you have been living under the same roof at any stage during the 12 months since the date of separation, you may be able to apply for a divorce. You will need to prove that you have been living separately and apart from your spouse, even though you have been living under the same roof.
Do I need to be divorced before I enter into a property settlement?
You do not need to be divorced before entering into a property settlement. You may negotiate a property settlement at any time before or after separation, but any application to Court for a property settlement or spousal maintenance must be made within 12 months of your divorce being granted.
After the divorce, what happens to the children?
Under the Family Law Act, there is a presumption that both parents will have equal shared parental responsibility for their child or children. This means they are required to consult each other and make joint decisions about major issues affecting the child such as education, health, housing, and religion. Contrary to popular belief, the law does not require children to spend equal time with both parents in all cases. The allocation of time between parents is subject to the child’s best interests in all cases.
Who takes responsibility for the care of children?
The Family Law Act allows for any person who has an interest in the care, welfare and development of a child to make an application about that child. This means that persons who are not the parents may apply to the Court for Orders, including grandparents.
What role does the court play in making decisions about children?
Where parents cannot agree about parenting arrangements, the Court can make Orders which it considers to be in the best interests of the children. These orders deal with when a child lives with a parent, or spends time with a parent.
What happens if one party takes the child away?
If a child has been removed, or there is a fear that a child may be removed, an urgent Order may be obtained from the Court to prevent the child from being taken away, or to have the child returned, or to locate the child.