Separation is when you and your partner stop living together in a domestic or marriage-like relationship.
Your partner does not have to agree to the separation, however he or she needs to know that you think the relationship is over. There are no legal processes to become separated.
Divorce is the official ending of marriage. You must satisfy the court that:
you and your spouse have lived separately and apart for 12 months,
there is no chance of reconciling your marriage.
There are exceptions to the above requirements, for example you may have been separated under one roof.
Getting a divorce does not sort out issues relating to children or property. These arrangements must be made separately. You do not need to be divorced in order to make these arrangements. Do not delay however as there are time limits that apply in relation to property and financial matters.
The law encourages you to try to sort out your issues using family dispute resolution and negotiation, if you can reach agreement then you can apply to the Court for consent orders, we can help you with this. If you cannot agree on arrangements about property or children, as a last resort you may end up going to court, however most matters will settle at some stage between the filing of an application for orders and the actual final hearing in the case.
Laws about division of property and financial maintenance apply to married couples and to de facto and same-sex relationships that ended after 1 March 2009.
Get legal advice
Get legal advice. Every case is different. Jano Family Law can help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities, and explain how the law applies to your situation. We are a fixed fee law firm that provides you with an affordable family law solution. Contact us for a free, no obligation legal consultation.