Getting divorced in Sydney & Parramatta can be a smooth and hassle free process if you are prepared. You need to know the law, and know how to apply it. With the correct guidance, your divorce application can be dealt with from beginning to end in a surprisingly short amount of time.
What's the divorce process in Sydney & Parramatta?
Step 1: Preparing the Application
The divorce process is started by filing an Application for Divorce online. You can apply for a divorce as a sole applicant, or jointly with your former partner as joint applicants. You do not need your former partner’s consent to apply for divorce as a sole applicant.
However, you will need to meet the following criteria before you will be eligible to complete a divorce application:
- You need to show that you are currently married. This is done by providing a copy of the Marriage certificate. If your marriage certificate is in a foreign language, you should organise an English translation of the document.
- You, or your ex-partner, need to either be Australian citizens, or permanently live or currently reside in Australia. You should prepare copies of documents to prove that you are living in Australia. Such documents include visas and utility bills addressed to your name and address.
- In Australia there is only one ground upon which you can apply for a divorce: that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. This is proved by showing that you have separated, and have lived separately, for over 12 months. Determining whether you have separated is a legal exercise unique to your individual relationship and circumstances. It is important that you have legal advice on this issue. In circumstances where you have separated, and you both continued to live in the same house, you will also require a statement from an independent witness as to their observations of your separation.
- If you have been married for less than 2 years, you will need to provide a certificate proving that you have attempted marriage counselling.
- If you have children under the age of 18, you will need to show that proper arrangements have been made for the care, welfare and development of those children. This means that you will need to provide details about the education, supervision, financial maintenance and health of the children.
Step 2: Serving the Application
When the Application has been filed, you will be notified of a Hearing Date. If you and your former spouse have made a joint application for Divorce, you do not need to serve your spouse with any documents.
If you filed a sole application you are required to serve the application. You will need to arrange for certain documents to be served on your spouse by hand. There are strict time limits for service:
- If your spouse is in Australia, the documents must be served at least 28 days before the court hearing.
- If your spouse is overseas, the documents must be served at least 42 days before the court hearing.
If you are unable to locate your spouse, you will need to seek the permission of the Court to provide for informal service. This can be a complicated application, and will require proven investigation of the whereabouts of your former spouse.
Once service of the Application has been completed, you will need to file a statement with the Court proving service.
Step 3: Attending the Divorce Hearing
You may not be required to attend the divorce hearing where:
- There are no children of the marriage aged under 18 years (for both sole and joint applications).
- You have made a joint application, even if there is a child of the marriage aged under 18.
If you have made a sole application and there is a child of the marriage aged under 18 years, you (the applicant) are required to attend the court.
Step 4: Wait 30 days
On the day of the divorce hearing, you will obtain a preliminary divorce order, which will automatically become finalised at the expiration of a period of 1 month from the date of the hearing.
You should not make plans to marry on a specific date until the divorce order is finalised. If you wish, you are free to complete and lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage with an authorised celebrant before the divorce order is finalised.
What are a Mother’s rights in a Divorce or Separation?
It is often a relief for many women to learn that you do not need permission to apply for divorce, particularly where you are worried about the unpredictable behaviour of an abusive or intimidating spouse who is not willing to cooperate. The divorce framework in Australia is based on a ‘no-fault’ system. This means that the only ground upon which any person can apply for a divorce is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably, regardless of how and why.
Separation, on the other hand, will often occur years before the divorce is finalised. Solid legal advice is the most valuable during the gap between separation and final divorce. There are two separate matters that need to be tackled:
- How will your property be divided between you and your former partner?
- What will the parenting arrangements be?
For more information about Parenting Arrangements click here.
For more information about Property Settlements click here.
Can I get divorced in Australia if I was married overseas?
Marriage overseas is very common among residents of Australia. If you were married overseas, you can apply for a divorce in Australia as long as either you or your spouse:
- permanently resides in Australia;
- are an Australia citizen by birth or descent;
- are an Australia citizen by grant of an Australia citizenship; or
- ordinarily live in Australia and have done so for 12 months immediately before filing for divorce.
You must ensure that you have a copy of your marriage certificate available to be filed with the Court. If your marriage certificate is in a foreign language, you will need to organise for the certificate to be translated into English, and for translators to provide an affidavit.
Talk to us about your divorce or separation.
Applying for divorce can be complicated and stressful if you are not familiar with the rules. The Courts will do their best to assist you however they cannot help you if you have not met the evidentiary requirements. We have experienced family law solicitors located in Sydney & Parramatta available to guide you through the process. With a little guidance, the process can be completed surprisingly quickly and smoothly.