These are the top 30 questions Australians ask about divorce:
- What are the grounds for divorce in Australia?
In Australia, the only ground for divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, evidenced by a 12-month separation.
- How do I file for divorce?
You can file for divorce using the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. The application can be done online through the Commonwealth Courts Portal.
- What is the waiting period for a divorce?
You need to be separated for 12 months. Once all the requirements have been met as evidenced by a correctly prepared divorce application, documents, and supporting affidavits, the Court will deal with the divorce application fairly quickly and the divorce certificate will be issued approximately one month after the Court’s divorce hearing.
- How much does a divorce cost?
The cost varies but there’s a set Court fee for filing for divorce. Concessions might be available for those with certain financial hardships.
- How long does a divorce take?
If everything is straightforward, a divorce can be finalized in a few months after the 12-month separation period.
- Do I need a lawyer to get divorced?
It’s not mandatory, but it’s advisable especially if there are complications such as property disputes or child custody issues.
- What is a no-fault divorce?
Australia follows a no-fault divorce system, which means that the Court doesn’t consider why the marriage ended.
- How is property divided in a divorce?
Property division is based on contributions (financial and non-financial) and future needs. It’s not always a 50-50 split.
- How is child custody determined?
The best interests of the child are paramount. The court considers factors like the child’s relationship with each parent, the likely impact of changes, and any family violence.
- Will I have to pay child support?
Child support is typically required from the non-primary caregiver, calculated based on both parents’ incomes and the child’s living arrangements.
- How is spousal maintenance determined?
It’s based on one party’s need for financial support and the other party’s ability to pay, considering factors like age, health, and earning capacity.
- Can I change my name after a divorce?
Yes, you can revert to your maiden name or choose another. Some institutions may require a copy of the divorce order.
- How do I serve divorce papers?
Papers need to be served personally, but not by the applicant, a process server or a friend can do this. There can be exceptions and the Court may allow substituted service by email or post, or dispensation with service, but generally you will need a lawyer to assist you in such situations.
- What is a divorce certificate?
It’s an official document from the court proving the divorce is finalized.
- Can I get divorced if I was married overseas?
Yes, if you or your spouse are an Australian citizen, domiciled in Australia, or have lived in Australia for 12 months.
- How is marital debt divided?
Like assets, debts are also considered joint property and need to be taken into account.
- Can we get divorced if we still live together?
Yes, but you’ll need to prove you’ve been separated while living under the same roof. A lawyer should assist you to prepare an affidavit in relation to this.
- What happens if one spouse does not want to get divorced?
One party’s objection doesn’t stop the divorce if the other can prove a 12-month separation.
- Can I remarry immediately after my divorce is finalized?
You can remarry once the divorce order becomes final, which is one month and one day after the order is made.
- How do divorce courts handle infidelity?
Australia has a no-fault divorce system, so infidelity isn’t considered when granting a divorce.
- What happens to our joint bank accounts during a divorce?
This depends on mutual agreements or court orders. Some couples close or freeze joint accounts, while others continue shared use. Ultimately, the law requires the court to make such orders as will finally determine the financial relationships between the parties to the de facto relationship and avoid further proceedings between them. Joint bank accounts are therefore usually closed at some stage.
- How do we decide who gets the family home?
This is determined through property settlement processes, considering contributions, future needs, and other factors. One party may be granted sole occupancy of the former family home in the meantime.
- How are superannuation assets split?
Superannuation may be split if it is just and equitable to do so. In many long term relationships or marriages, superannuation is equalised between the parties.
- How do I protect my assets in a divorce?
It’s crucial to get legal advice. Trying to hide assets is illegal and can lead to serious legal consequences. Family law has been referred to as a “show and tell” rather than a “hide and seek” process, however the Court can also issue subpoenas and has coercive powers to deal with non-disclosure.
- What are my rights as a father in a divorce?
Fathers have equal rights to be considered for custody and to access their children, barring any safety or well-being concerns. The law however focuses on the child’s best interests which are the paramount consideration.
- What are my rights as a mother in a divorce?
Mothers have the same rights as fathers. Custody isn’t automatically given to mothers. The law however focuses on the child’s best interests which are the paramount consideration.
- What if we reconcile during the divorce process?
You can stop the divorce process as long as the divorce order has not been made final. If you reconcile for longer than 3 months, the 12-month separation period restarts.
- What is a parenting plan?
It’s a written agreement detailing parenting arrangements. It isn’t legally enforceable like Court orders but can be turned into consent orders.
- How do I change a custody arrangement after divorce?
You can negotiate with your ex-spouse and make new arrangements by consent or request the Court to change the orders if there has been a significant change in circumstances.
- What is a binding financial agreement?
It’s an agreement that sets out how property and financial resources will be divided upon separation or divorce. It’s like a prenup but can be made before, during, or after marriage.
These are the top 30 questions Australians ask about divorce. Your situation is unique, get the right answers which apply to your specific situation. To make a confidential, no-obligation inquiry, please use our secured and encrypted New Client Form.