In Australia, the only time you actually need a divorce is if you want to remarry. You do not need to be divorced to start negotiating arrangements or court proceedings for division of property, time spent with children, spousal maintenance, or child support.
Here is some information on what is involved in applying for divorce.
When Do I Apply For Divorce?
You are eligible to apply for a divorce order after you have been separated for one year and one day, including being separated in the same house, and if you can state that there is no reasonable likelihood of resuming married life.
If you have been separated in the same house, you will need to file an affidavit that there was a change in your marriage that amounts to separation.
One of you needs to be an Australian citizen, have lived here for at least a year, or be lawfully in Australia and intend to continue living in Australia.
If you have been married for less than two years, you will need a counselling certificate.
How Do I Apply For Divorce?
You may prepare your own divorce application or ask a lawyer to do it for you.
An application can be made together with your spouse, or separately. It can be done by downloading the divorce kit or by applying electronically via the Federal Circuit Court website here.
If you make a joint application or do not have children under the age of 18, you do not need to go to the court.
What Does it Cost?
The filing fee for a divorce application is $865, but you may be eligible for a reduced fee of $290. The fee will increase every year on July 1. If you need a lawyer to do the divorce application for you, the cost usually varies from $500 to $1,500, plus the filing fee payable to the court.
What are the Legal Effects of Divorce?
Once your divorce is final, you must file any court proceedings for division of property within one year. If you have been living in a de facto relationship, you must file any court proceedings for division of property within two years of the date of your separation.
Why Do I Need a Divorce?
As mentioned earlier, you don’t have to get divorced. However, there are good reasons to get a divorce, apart from remarriage.
If you don’t have a Will, your ex-spouse might get everything if you are not officially divorced. If you have a Will, it might leave everything to your ex-spouse, who will still be seen as your spouse unless you divorce or change your Will.
Most people these days have some superannuation and/or life insurance policies. If you have nominated your spouse as the beneficiary of any of those policies, you may need to change them or get a divorce to avoid your ex getting the funds.
Do you need to get a divorce? There is no law stating that you have to, but if you decide to do so, it doesn’t have to be a complicated process.