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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Palmer

Understanding Divorce in Australia

Divorce is a significant step in one's life and understanding the legal requirements is crucial to navigating the process smoothly. In Australia, divorce law is governed by the Family Law Act 1975, which outlines the procedures and requirements for obtaining a divorce. At Palmer Legal, we understand the complexities of divorce proceedings and aim to provide clarity on the requirements for divorce in Australia.


Residency Requirement:

Before filing for divorce in Australia, there is a residency requirement that must be met. Either you or your spouse must regard Australia as your home and intend to live indefinitely in Australia or be an Australian citizen by birth, descent, or by grant of Australian citizenship.


12-Month Separation Period:

One of the fundamental requirements for divorce in Australia is the 12-month separation period. This means that you and your spouse must have lived separately and apart for at least 12 months before filing for divorce. It's important to note that you can still be considered "separated" even if you are living under the same roof, as long as you are not in a de facto relationship.


No Prospects of Reconciliation:

At the time of filing for divorce, it must be demonstrated to the court that there are no prospects of reconciliation between you and your spouse. This requirement emphasizes the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, indicating that attempts at reconciliation have been exhausted.


Application for Divorce:

To initiate the divorce process, you must file an Application for Divorce with the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. This application can be filed jointly if both parties agree to the divorce or individually if only one party seeks the divorce. Along with the application, you will need to provide supporting documents such as your marriage certificate.


Service of Documents:

After filing the Application for Divorce, a copy must be served to your spouse. If you are filing jointly, this step is typically straightforward. However, if you are filing individually, you will need to arrange for the documents to be served to your spouse in accordance with the court's requirements.

Couple distanced from each other
Find out about the steps required to obtain a Divorce

Attending the Court Hearing:

Following the filing of the application, a court hearing will be scheduled. In most cases, attendance at the court hearing is not required unless there are children of the marriage under the age of 18. If there are children, the court may require you to attend the hearing to address arrangements for their care and welfare.


Finalizing the Divorce:

Once the court is satisfied that all requirements for divorce have been met, a divorce order will be granted. This typically takes effect one month and one day after the court hearing. It's important to note that the divorce only addresses the legal dissolution of the marriage and does not deal with issues such as property settlement or parenting arrangements, which may require separate legal proceedings.


Divorce can be a complex and emotionally challenging process, but understanding the legal requirements can help navigate it more effectively. At Palmer Legal, we are committed to guiding our clients through every step of the divorce process, ensuring their rights and interests are protected. If you are considering divorce or have questions about the process, don't hesitate to contact us for expert legal advice and support.


Melanie Palmer

Ph: 02 4869 1392

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