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No Fault Divorce Explained

No Fault Divorce Explained by Hickman Family Lawyers

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Did you know that Australia was one of the early adopters of the no fault divorce principle back in 1975? But, do you know what the no fault divorce principle is?

Our team of divorce lawyers in Perth has put together this post which explains everything you need to know about no fault divorce and how it works in Australia.

What Is A No Fault Divorce?

Under Australian Family Law, neither spouse is required to prove fault on the part of their partner, before filing an application for a divorce. You only need to state that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, with no prospect of reconciliation.  This needs to be demonstrated by a 12-month separation period, before an application for divorce can be filed.

When Did Australia Introduce No Fault Divorce?

The No Fault Divorce rule was introduced in Australia in 1975. It was one of the earliest countries to adopt this law nation-wide.

Many states in the United States still do not apply the no fault divorce principle and require spouses to prove one person is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. In the United Kingdom, no fault divorce only came into law earlier in 2022.

If you want to find out more about this history of no fault divorce in Australia, read this article on the ABC News site.

What Was The Previous System Of Divorce?

Prior to 1975, the process of divorcing was much more difficult, costly and often highly complicated.  A spouse had to prove fault on the part of their partner, before filing an application for a divorce. There were 14 grounds for granting a divorce, which included, adultery, cruelty, habitual drunkenness, desertion, imprisonment, and insanity.

Some of these requirements were difficult to prove, resulting in the hiring of private detectives to produce evidence. This would drag out the process, leading to much unnecessary expense, conflict and stress for the entire family.

Why Was The No Fault Divorce Principle Implemented?

The No Fault Divorce Principle was implemented for a number of reasons. Firstly, it gave people, particularly women, the freedom and legal right to end their marriages without having to prove it according to previously required legal reasons.

It simplified the process of divorce, making it quicker, less stressful, and less costly. It also made the process more private by avoiding the embarrassment suffered by either partner by the public airing of incriminating evidence in the Courts.

But not everybody was supportive of this law, blaming it for the higher divorce rates, lower number of institutionalised marriages, promoting unaccountability and encouraging irresponsible behaviour. Some also argued that the victim of the divorce was not adequately compensated by the No Fault Principle, forcing them to pursue their claims through lengthy and costly litigation.

Financial Settlements In The Divorce Process

The divorce process is dealt with completely separately from the financial settlement process when you separate from your partner.

The divorce process is simply the legal process you need to follow in order to be declared legally divorced.

Your financial settlement can be dealt with first while you wait for the required 12-month separation period to be reached before you can apply for your divorce.

A financial settlement will address how you divide your assets and liabilities – things like your property, cash, cars, personal belongings and also your debts.

These two processes are completely independent of one another but your divorce lawyer will be able to assist you with both.

Parenting Arrangements In The Divorce Process

Parenting plans and parenting orders can be made prior to, after, or alongside your divorce proceedings.

If you share children with your ex, you’ll need to work out shared care arrangements, where the children will live and when, and who will do what when it comes to the usual things like the school run and taking the children to and from their sporting and social activities.

These can be done informally via a parenting plan or more formally through the Family Court with a parenting order. Parenting orders are legally enforceable, whereas parenting plans are not. Family Relationships has an excellent resource all about parenting orders here.

If you’re ready to start the divorce process, having an excellent Perth divorce lawyer on your side can help you achieve a fair outcome, quickly and affordably. Book your free 15-minute information call with one of the trusted Perth divorce lawyers at Hickman Family Lawyers now.

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