Everything you need to start your divorce journey

Divorce journey

Divorce is an emotionally and financially challenging process. It can be difficult to know where to start, and many people feel overwhelmed by the process. From separation agreements to understanding what will happen with the children, it can be hard to know where to start – but we are here to help.

Read on to learn all you need to know about starting your divorce journey, including the main things to be aware of during the process.

Types of Divorce

Before you start your divorce journey, it is important to understand that there are two main types of divorce, and your current situation likely fits into one of these two categories.

Uncontested divorce

This is where both parties have agreed on all matters related to the divorce and can come to an amicable agreement without court intervention.

Contested divorce

This is when the parties cannot agree on one or more issues and require the assistance of the court to reach a settlement.

The Divorce Journey

If you have made the difficult decision that your relationship has reached an end, and it is time to divorce, there are a few steps that you will need to take in your journey, and we took a closer look at these below:

Know your eligibility requirements

The first step in the process is to know whether you are eligible to be granted a divorce, and in Australia, this falls under the Family Law Act.

To apply for a divorce, at least one of the partners must have been an Australian resident for at least 12 months before applying for the dissolution of their marriage. Also, both parties must have been separated for at least 12 months prior to filing an application for a divorce.

Apply online or by mail

You can file your application either online via the Federal Circuit Court website or by mail using the appropriate Application Kit from the court registry, where it will be heard.

Pay a lodging fee

Parties pay a fee when lodging a Divorce Application with the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Courts of Australia. The fee is typically $940, which can be reduced to $310 if you are eligible.

Gather evidence for your case

When you are preparing evidence for your case, make sure that you include all relevant financial documents, including income tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, mortgage papers, car loan papers, and superannuation forms, amongst other personal documents like birth certificates or passports (if applicable).

When gathering evidence, it’s important that it is accurate, as anything submitted will ultimately form part of your court file if proceedings are challenged later on down the line in an appeal or other dispute resolution matter.

Serve papers to your partner & go to court

Once you’ve filed your application with the court and paid any required fees (if applicable), it must then be served upon your partner, so they can respond within 28 days of receiving it.

If your partner does not respond within the allotted time, you may be granted a default judgement. Alternatively, if your partner does respond and you are unable to come to an agreement outside of court, you will have to go through the court process. This involves attending hearings and possibly mediation or arbitration with a trained mediator. Ultimately, the judge or magistrate presiding over your case will make the final decision on the divorce.

Reasons For Divorce In Australia

Australia is a “no fault” zone when it comes to divorce, and this means that the courts do not have to take the reasons for divorce into account when deciding whether to grant permission.

Australian law recognises just two reasons for divorce:

  1. Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, in which either partner believes that there is no hope of reconciliation; or
  2. Two years’ separation with consent, where both parties have lived apart for two years and agree to the divorce.

Issues That May Arise During Divorce Proceedings

Before you get started, it is a good idea to have a basic knowledge of some of the main issues likely to crop up during your divorce journey. These may include:

Child custody and access

You will need to decide who will have primary custody of the children, when the other parent can have access, and how financial support for the children will be managed.

Property division

How your property is to be divided between you and your former partner needs to be agreed upon, including the family home, furniture, and vehicles.

Spousal maintenance

You will need to decide how much, if any, spousal maintenance is to be paid.

Taxation considerations

Before finalising your divorce settlement, you should discuss with a specialist the tax implications of any property division or spousal maintenance payments.

Final Thoughts

Divorce is a difficult process and can be emotionally draining for all involved. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to go through it alone – there are plenty of resources available, like family law experts or counsellors, who can help you through this trying time.

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