If you’re thinking about getting a divorce you might be worried that your spouse won’t agree to a divorce. This is sadly not uncommon and can cause a lot of stress in an already strained situation. But there are steps you can take to get divorced, even when your spouse doesn’t want to.
Here are some tips from our Perth family lawyers on what to do when your spouse won’t agree to a divorce.
You Do Not Need Your Spouse To Agree To A Divorce
It’s important to be aware that you DO NOT need your spouse to agree to a divorce.
Yes, it can be a lot easier for all parties involved if you both agree to get a divorce, but it is not legally essential.
Unlike some other countries, Australia has a no fault divorce system. This means that there is no requirement to prove the reason why you want to get a divorce.
That means that whether your spouse agrees to get a divorce or not is not relevant to the circumstances of your case.
Have You Been Separated For At Least 12 Months?
The main requirement you need to meet when getting a divorce is proof that you have been separated as a couple for at least 12 months.
Because of our no fault divorce system, as long as you can show evidence that your separation occurred at least 12 months ago, you can legally get a divorce, even if your spouse does not agree to one.
The only grounds needed for divorce is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and there is no reasonable likelihood of a reconciliation.
If you have not been separated for at least 12 months, your spouse can oppose your divorce application. However, they would need to demonstrate that you were still in a relationship throughout that time. Things like text messages or evidence from other people, that they knew you were separated, could assist you in showing that you were separated for the 12 month period.
Submit A Sole Divorce Application
As soon as the 12 month separated requirement is met, you can submit your divorce application.
When spouses are in agreement, a joint divorce application can be submitted to the court.
If your spouse is not in agreement to the divorce, you can instead submit a sole divorce application.
You are then known as the applicant and your spouse is referred to as the respondent.
Serve Them With Your Application and Relevant Documentation
Once you have completed your sole divorce application, you need to serve the application to your spouse.
They will then have the opportunity to respond to the application.
You cannot serve the papers yourself – you need to have another person who is over the age of 18 deliver the documents to your spouse, or use a process server.
Serving by hand is the best method, and you can provide a photograph to the person serving the documents to help them confirm your spouse’s identity at the document handover.
You can read all the requirements for serving your spouse with your divorce application by hand on the Family Court website here.
Once the service has been successful, you need to file the documents with the court. Your family lawyercan assist you with this process to ensure your application is filed correctly.
Keep Communication Open
The best thing you can do when your spouse won’t agree to a divorce is to keep the lines of communication open.
If they are willing to communicate and discuss matters, this will make both of your lives easier and the divorce process potentially much smoother.
Divorce can be a sad and stressful time, so when both you and your spouse are prepared to keep talking to each other and working out the best way forward, it can only help to ease the tricky transition to your new lives.
At Hickman Family Lawyers in Perth, we’re committed to helping our clients get through one of the toughest times of their lives.
When you hire one of our trusted family lawyers in Perth, we’ll guide you through the legal process and aim to resolve your matters in the shortest time possible.
Book a free 15-minute consultation on our website now.