A marriage is a legal bond between two parties, and a divorce is the official end of that union. This breakdown of the marriage has a lot of ways it affects the parties involved in various ways. For example, the parties engaged in a marriage cannot remarry without a divorce, and it also affects your rights and responsibilities when it comes to financial matters, properties, children, and anything recorded as an asset of the marriage.
Before the Application
The choice of whether or not a divorce is wanted is a personal decision. The actual divorce is separate from any property or children's matters and cannot be commenced until at least a year has passed since you and your spouse separated.
Ironically, divorce proceedings themselves are usually straight and simple processes. This is primarily because arrangements have usually already been made regarding financial affairs, properties, children, etc.
Applying for a divorce in Australia is on the grounds that the two partners have accepted that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. A year's separation is the usual test of this along with assertions by either party to that effect. If you have been married less than 2 years you will also need to undergo marriage counselling and provide a certificate to the Court that this has been done.
Submitting the Divorce Application
Divorce can only be applied for online through the Federal Circuit Court website. You can either apply on your own or submit a joint application with your former spouse. Whether you apply solely or jointly will affect various steps you need to complete (such as whether you need to serve your former partner with any paperwork). This might be an area where you require legal assistance, but the Court has tried to make it as clear as possible.
Delivering the Divorce Application
After the divorce application has been successfully submitted, the court then provides divorce application copies. In the case that you did not jointly submit the divorce application, you will need to deliver the required documents to your partner. This can prove problematic if you no longer know where your partner is. You can seek the help of your legal adviser to combat this challenge.
The Divorce Hearing
During the Hearing, the Registrar confirms various prerequisites to the divorce process were taken properly through questioning and validation of data. The court will ascertain if you delivered the divorce application to your partner and if you and your partner satisfied the 12-month stipulated separation period.
If you have children under the age of 18 and filed a sole application you will need to attend this Hearing, otherwise you may not need to attend and the Court will simply make the Orders in your absence.
After the Hearing
After a month and a day, the divorce order will be forwarded to you. You are now officially divorced.
It is important to note that if you get divorced before settling any property matters, you will only have a year from the date of divorce to either resolve these or lodge proceedings in the Court.