Divorce is never easy. Even when it’s amicable and the parties agree on all the details, it’s a significant upheaval which means that it can also be a stressful and emotional time. Sometimes, however, that stress can be eased by understanding a little bit about how Australian family law operates and how it might apply to you.
Divorce – the basics
The Family Law Act defines “divorce” as the termination of a marriage. (Termination doesn’t include either the husband or the wife passing away). There is a legal process that must be followed for a divorce to be granted. Applications for divorce are usually dealt with by either the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court.
When a couple separates or divorces, other issues often arise, for example making parenting arrangements for any children or working out how to divide assets.
What do I need to do to get a divorce?
Australian laws require that if you wish to divorce, you must have been separated for at least twelve months. If, at the end of this period, there is no reasonable prospect of resuming married life together, then you may make an application to the court for divorce.
Can I apply for a divorce in Australia?
To apply for a divorce in Australia, you or your spouse must fall into at least one of the following categories:
- You regard Australia as your home and intend to live in Australia indefinitely.
- You are an Australian citizen by birth or descent. This means that one of the following applies to you:
- You were born in Australia; or
- You were born outside Australia and at least one parent was an Australian citizen; or
- Your birth was registered in Australia.
- You are an Australian citizen because you have been granted Australian Citizenship.
- You live in Australia and have done so for twelve months immediately before applying for divorce.
Do I need a lawyer?
Whilst you can apply for a divorce without the assistance of a family lawyer, there are good reasons for engaging a lawyer to act for you, particularly if there are property or parenting issues to resolve. There are other reasons to engage a lawyer, for example:
- If you are unsure whether you can apply for a divorce in Australia.
- If you can’t locate your spouse.
- If your spouse is overseas.
- If you want less stress and would like a lawyer to manage the workload.
If you’re asking yourself “Is there a family lawyer near me?” look no further than Websters Lawyers. With offices conveniently located in Adelaide CBD, Ridgehaven and Smithfield, we’re sure to be able to meet your needs with an experienced family lawyer, free consultation (for the first consultation) and excellent service all round. Contact us today to find out more.