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Applying for Divorce

We'll guide you through the divorce application process.

When can I apply for a divorce?

Proceedings for divorce are usually commenced after all parenting and/or financial matters have been resolved. You can apply for a property settlement at any time after separation and prior to divorce.

Once a divorce certificate has been issued, you will only have 12 months to make an application to the court by right. After that time any application for a property settlement can only be made with the consent of the parties or with permission from the court under strict circumstances. That is why it is advisable to finalise all financial matters before applying for a divorce.

Slater and Gordon’s family law lawyers are committed to giving you sensible, practical and realistic advice.

How do I apply for a divorce?

To apply for a divorce, you must be in a position to prove all of the following:

  • Evidence of any exiting cases or orders regarding property settlement or parenting arrangements
  • Details of custody and care arrangements for any children under 18
  • Proof that you have been separated for 12 months, and that there is no likelihood of reconciliation

When filing the divorce application you must submit:

  • The original and two photocopies of the form
  • Any supporting documents
  • A copy of your marriage certificate

After submitting the form

Once the courts receive the form, there are a number of steps to go through before you are officially divorced:

  1. You will receive a file number and a time and date for a hearing
  2. If you were a sole applicant for the divorce, you must serve a sealed copy of the application for divorce to your spouse. This must happen at least 28 days before the hearing date
  3. The hearing

It’s important to note that only sole applicants with a child under the age of 18 involved in the divorce will need to attend the divorce hearing. If there are no children under the age of 18 involved, then you do not need to attend the hearing, even in the case of a joint application.

Outcome of the hearing

If your divorce application is successful, you will be granted a divorce order. This will come into effect one month and one day after the hearing.

Joint divorce application

You can either submit a joint application from both parties, or a sole application from one party. In a joint application, both parties must complete the application form. The form must be signed before a qualified witness (a lawyer, Justice of the Peace or other person authorised to be a witness in your state). The form must then be photocopied twice for submitting. It’s wise to make a few extra photocopies for your personal records.

You can file the form electronically through the Commonwealth Courts Portal, by post or you can hand it in at your nearest family law registry.

Make an enquiry

If you have a question, want some more information or would just like to speak to someone, make an enquiry now and we’ll be in touch with you very soon.

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