Australia adopted a "no fault" divorce and the only grounds for divorce in Australia is the irreparable damage to a marriage, which can only be proven by the spouses living separately for more than 12 months.
This means, you can be divorced by simply applying to a Court after being separated from your spouse for more than one year. It generally takes 2-4 months to get your divorce hearing and after that, another month for your divorce to become final.
The "Formal divorce" is the easiest and most straightforward part of the divorce process.
You can agree on "Parenting plan" with your ex-spouse at any time and file to the Court for "Consent orders". If you cannot agree, then you need to file to Court for children orders.
Since 2007, the general rule in Australia is that parents have equal rights to care for the children, which often translates into a "week-about" arrangement where the children spend one week with one parent and another week with another parent. It is also common, especially for younger children, to live with the mother and spend every second weekend with the father.
You can represent yourself in Court applying for children orders, or hire a lawyer, or apply for Legal Aid to provide you with a lawyer.
"Children orders" can take several months to obtain.
Property settlement is the most complicated part of the divorce process. You can apply for property settlement orders any time after your separation but it must be done within 12 months since the date of your formal divorce.
Legal Aid will not provide you with a lawyer for the process of property settlement.
Property settlement and division of assets can take years. Usually in Australia it takes about 2-3 years, unless you agree with your ex-spouse out of Court.
Do I Need A Divorce Lawyer? Find out whether you need to hire a divorce lawyer.
1 March 2009 - New de-facto regulation became effective in Queensland, Australia: de-facto couples whose relationship broke following 1 March 2009 will be applying to Family Court for both property settlement and custody of the children.
Copyright 2009 © MyDivorce.com.au