Separation and Divorce laws in Australia

Separation and Divorce laws in Australia


The separation and its aftermath is way too stressful for the couple. The separation decision and planning for coming days become the focus of both the couples. If children are involved, one need to tread very carefully, so that their care is not affected adversely.

Requisites for granting divorce

Surprisingly, not many couple in relationship don’t know the guidelines set for divorce application and granting of the same! I thought, it’s better to acquaint the readers’ with some legal know-hows!

The family law has laid down few rules as to when the spouses can file for divorce and whether they can be granted divorce decree; at least not until they meet the below criteria:

  1. The couple must have lived separately for minimum of 12 months before filing for divorce.
  2. The couple must prove to the court that their marriage has irretrievably broken down and that there is no means of reconciliation.
  3. The couple must provide their original marriage certificate to the court.
  4. If the couple have a child out of their wedding, who is below 18 years, they should show the court that sufficient care arrangements have been made for the upbringing of the child.

You can check here on how to apply for divorce in Australia . For the spouses to apply for divorce in Australia, they must confirm their relationship with Australia first.

Grounds on which divorce can be filed by spouses


  • Either any of the spouses or both have lived in Australia for the minimum of 12 months just before filing for divorce in Australia.
  • Either or both the spouses are Australian citizens by birth, grant or descent.
  • Either of both the spouses are currently living in Australia or wish to live in Australia for indefinite time.




You can do your own divorce process through online divorce filing services provided by the family courts of Australia. You can either apply in Family court or Federal Circuit Court for divorce. The divorce filing fees must be borne by both the partners if the spouses are jointly applying for divorce.

If one spouse does not agree to divorce and decides to contest the divorce case filed by the other partner, then he /she must file Response to Divorce in the court within 28 days of receiving the divorce notice.

A family lawyer’s assistance might be required when you choose to oppose the divorce filing. Because, you must prove to the court that either of the below mentioned grounds point that the divorce case is invalid:

  1. The couple have not separated for more than 12 months as against the information provided by the other spouse.
  2. Or, that the court is acting beyond its jurisdiction by taking this divorce case for hearing.

If both the couple agree to divorce but either one does not agree to the facts mentioned there in the divorce filing, he/she can ask the family lawyers to file Response to Divorce and state the discrepancies in the facts.

The divorce process generally takes 6-10 weeks to get finalised.

Will the divorce filing parties need to attend court hearings?


Not generally! The family lawyers handle the case without you attending court hearings. In below situations, you need not go to court sessions, personally.

  • If the divorce is joint application and there are not child/children involved.
  • If the divorce is joint application and there are child/children involved who are below 18 years of age AND all the necessary arrangements have been made for the care of the child/children.

*The court grants divorce to such couple only after it satisfies itself fully that the provision made for the child care are adequate. If the court finds the child care inadequate, it asks the spouses to attend the court sessions personally.

If in any other unavoidable circumstances, you cannot attend the court personally, you can ask your family lawyer to arrange for an audio or video participation.

This video clip might help you understand how divorce papers are prepared and served:


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