Are you wondering what the difference is when it comes to joint vs sole divorce applications?
In some cases, spouses may agree to file a joint divorce application. In others, there may be one spouse who chooses to begin divorce proceedings, and then a sole divorce application will be filed.
Here’s what you need to know about joint vs sole divorce applications.
What Is A Sole Divorce Application?
A Sole Divorce Application is an application that is filed solely by one spouse to be served to the other spouse, who then has the opportunity to file a response. The Family Law Act requires a couple to have been separated for a period of 12 months and must be satisfied that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
How To File A Sole Divorce Application
Your divorce lawyer will advise you on this process, but if you are doing it without legal assistance, you will find a step-by step guide and Application Forms can be downloaded and filed from www.familycourt.wa.gov.au
You will also need to submit a copy of your marriage certificate and a filing fee – check the current fee online here. That can be reduced if you can prove financial hardship or are receiving some types of government support.
In legal terms, you (the person filing) will be known as the applicant and your spouse (the person you are serving) as the respondent. Once the Court is satisfied that all criteria are met, a hearing date will be set, two to three months from date of filing the Application.
What Happens After You File A Sole Divorce Application?
The Divorce Application can be served to your spouse by post or be hand delivered by anyone other than yourself, at least 28 days prior to the hearing.
Your spouse will have to sign an Acknowledgement of Service form, while you sign an Affidavit of Proof of Signature form confirming the signature is indeed that of your spouse, and the person who served it will sign an Affidavit of Service, stating how and when the service was carried out. All these forms now need to be submitted to the Court prior to the hearing date.
If your spouse refuses to sign the Acknowledgement of Service, you will have to issue a photo of your spouse to the person serving it for them to confirm that this was the person that it was served.
If you cannot trace your spouse, you have to provide evidence that you tried to locate them at their last known address, made enquiries with family, friends and her work place, and also placed notices in the local newspapers.
You are not required to attend the Court Hearing if there are no children involved. If there are children from this marriage under 18 years old, you or your divorce lawyer will have to attend. In that case, the Court will require proof of all financial and other arrangements for the care of the children such as custody, education, maintenance, etc. that have been agreed by both parents.
Provided the Court has all the evidence it requires, it should grant the divorce at the hearing.
The official Divorce Order becomes final one month and one day after the hearing, and is sent to both parties.
What Is A Joint Divorce Application?
A Joint Divorce Application is signed and filed jointly by both spouses, who become known as joint applicants.
How To File A Joint Divorce Application
Both spouses fill in the application and must sign the affidavit in front of an authorised witness before it is filed.
As opposed to a Sole Application, by applying jointly, it is not necessary to serve any documents onto the second party or wait for them to file a response.
What Happens After You File A Joint Divorce Application?
The application goes straight to the decision making stage and you will not be required to attend the hearing. The Court decision will be based only on the documents filed.
If there are children under the age of 18 years, the Court will also need to be satisfied that all arrangements pertaining to the children have been agreed by both parents, before granting the final Divorce Order.
Do you need help with your joint or sole divorce application?
Contact one of our team of family lawyers in Perth at Hickman Family Lawyers today.
We offer a free 15-minute phone consultation and have a proven track record of helping couples divorce with the least amount of stress and fuss.