1. Can I get a quick divorce?
In Australia, there's no such thing as an instantaneous or a fast divorce. In order to apply for divorce, partners must be separated for a period of at least 12 months. If there is a period of failed reconciliation for three months or more, the 12-month separation restarts. From applying for a divorce to finalising one, typically takes at least four months.
2. What if we have been living together for the separation period?
It’s still possible to get a divorce but you need to provide evidence you’re separated by way of affidavit confirming the separation details. This might include living in separate rooms, having different bank accounts and being open about your split to friends, family and even neighbours, who may also be required to provide evidence about the separation.
3. We haven’t been married long, does this mean a divorce will take less time?
If you’ve been married less than two years, you and your partner will first need to attend a mediation session and obtain a certificate from your counsellor. This can be arranged by contacting the Family Relationship Advice Line. If there's no possibility of you or your partner attending counselling together, an affidavit needs to be filed. Afterwards, standard divorce procedures apply, including the 12-month separation period.
4. If my partner doesn’t want a divorce, is it still possible?
As long as you have been separated for 12 months and can prove your marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down’, grounds for divorce are established. However, all partners have the right to know about the divorce hearing so papers will need to be served to them by a third party 28 days before the court hearing if they live in Australia. If your partner opposes a divorce, they can file a response prior to the hearing.
5. Can I remarry immediately after divorce?
Once you receive your divorce certificate, your new marital status is not considered final for another month. So no, don’t remarry immediately as it’s considered bigamy!
6. Will the courts punish me because I had an affair?
Under Australian law there is a ‘no fault’ jurisdiction, which means the divorce doesn’t require blame to be shifted. Instead, the court requires the 12-month separation to see the marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down’.
7. Does a divorce include parenting and asset arrangements?
You will need to make parenting and property arrangements outside of divorce. If you wish for the courts to engage in your matrimonial asset matters, note the application needs to be received within 12 months of the finalisation of the divorce.
8. Do the courts always side with wives over husbands?
Australian law is guided by fair principles. For example, if a disagreement over sharing of matrimonial assets occurs, the court takes into account non-financial and financial contribution of each party. In terms of parenting disagreements, the court focuses on what is in the best interest of the child.
9. Do I have to wait until after a divorce to reuse my maiden name?
You're allowed to revert back to your maiden name before, during and after your divorce. For changing the name of children, it's more complex and obtaining legal advise is advised.
10. Is it possible to get divorced without a lawyer?
You can apply for divorce online and attend to the documents yourself. However, by seeking legal representation you’re going to ensure your rights are represented and save yourself a lot of headache. Richardson Murray offer a free consultation so you can see if the legal route is right for you.
11. If I got married overseas, can I get a divorce in Australia?
If you live in Australia, are a citizen or resident then you can apply for divorce in this country. You’ll need a copy of your marriage certificate and if it’s not in English, you need to file a translation of it and an affidavit from the translator.