Recently separated from your spouse? Wondering what happens next? Our family lawyers in Perth have put together a post that covers the divorce process in Australia and the steps you need to take from separation through to divorce.
An Overview Of The Divorce Process In Australia
Couples who are in the process of divorcing in Australia are faced with three basic choices:
– Following the DIY option,
– going through the Courts or
– divorce mediation.
DIY “kits” can be provided by the Family Courts formalising the division of assets as well as drawing up mutually agreed financial decisions and parenting arrangements. The problem with that however, is that it leaves it up to both spouses to work all that out between themselves.
They will then have to complete and lodge their own applications for Consent or Parenting Orders and this is where things can sometimes go horribly wrong. If this option works it may, however, still be the cheapest option, but it can also become a legal nightmare.
Separating through the Court means that each party can appoint their own divorce lawyer to argue each and every disputed point and let a Magistrate or Judge make the final decision. This process can become a lengthy, highly stressful and costly affair and there are no guarantees of a favourable outcome.
The third option when it comes to divorcing in Australia is through divorce mediation, and can be a highly successful choice. Throughout the divorce process, the mediator remains impartial, facilitating communication between the parties, enabling them to reach their own agreements. You can attend a divorce mediator with a lawyer, or just with your ex.
Where children under the age of 18 are involved, or the marriage has lasted less than two years, Australian Family Law makes it compulsory for divorcing parents to attempt Family Dispute Resolution before applying to the Court for a Parenting Order, except where there is urgency.
Is There A Required Separation Period Before Starting The Divorce Process?
Before you can begin the divorce process in Australia, you need to prove you have been separated for a minimum of 12 months. For marriages that have lasted less than two years, the minimum separation period cannot be less than 24 months.
Sometimes finances do not allow a couple to be living in and paying for two separate homes, and may remain under one roof, as long as they confirm that they are living in separate quarters.
Furthermore, the law also requires the separation of any joint bank accounts, rentals and other household costs.
You can sort out your financial or parenting matters before the 12 month waiting period is over.
Is The Process For Divorce In Australia Different If We Got Married Overseas?
The divorce process in Australia does not discriminate against couples who have married outside Australia.
If you or your spouse have been living in Australia for 12 months, intending to live here permanently, you are an Australian citizen by birth, descent or have been granted citizenship, you may apply for a divorce in Australia.
Using A Divorce Lawyer To Guide You Through The Divorce Process
Anyone who has been through a divorce will vouch that it can be a most stressful and demanding process. Although one is legally entitled to divorce by a DIY process, unless both spouses are well-versed in Australian divorce laws, things can quickly become complicated, no matter how amicable your relationship with your soon to be ex-spouse may seem.
When it comes to splitting of assets, such as properties, business interests, and debt, as well as making difficult and emotional decisions regarding the care of children, both spouses will certainly need some legal advice on what their rights may or may not be. Free legal advice may be available online, but that is normally general advice and may not provide clearcut answers to each and every question in your situation.
Divorce lawyers, on the other hand, are well-versed in all divorce matters and many are qualified and highly experienced mediators, being able to offer the correct advice and guide you through the entire process. They are able to handle intricate financial and property matters, draw up and submit complicated Consent Orders or Parenting Orders, and attend to Family Court proceedings if need be, taking the stress out of your divorce.
In short, when one considers what is at stake, the risk you run by trying to do things on the cheap and on your own, may just be a little too high for you to take.
Need help with your divorce? Our family lawyers in Perth can help you work through the divorce process and guide you as to what is needed at every stage.
Book a free 15 minute phone consultation with a trusted Perth divorce lawyer today.