How to apply for a divorce

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Cairns Divorce Lawyers

After 12 months of official separation, you can seek a divorce by going to the family courts. Our Cairns family lawyers will guide you on divorce, including costs and time limits, so you can make informed decisions.

We know that going through a separation and divorce is stressful. It can be difficult to know what to do and when. To help ease the burden, we have compiled an overview of the steps you must take to apply for a divorce.

Divorce steps

When you are ready to apply for a divorce, the procedure is straightforward and outlined below:

  • Complete the Application for Divorce, available online via the Commonwealth Courts Portal.
  • When preparing the application online, ensure you have a copy of your marriage certificate.
  • Also include any existing orders including parenting, property, or domestic violence orders.
  • After you complete the online application, print out the Affidavit for eFiling Application (Divorce). You must sign the document in front of a witness, such as a lawyer. Upload the Affidavit for eFiling Application (Divorce) online to the Commonwealth Courts Portal and submit the Application. There is a court filing fee (a reduced fee is available if you have an eligible concession card).
  • If you have filed a sole application, you must serve the application on your spouse. Service must be in accordance with the court rules. A lawyer can help you with this.
  • Attend the Divorce Hearing (if necessary).
  • The Divorce Order will be made available to download from the Commonwealth Courts Portal, one month and one day following the Divorce Hearing.
  • If you and your spouse have been separated for 12 months, but still live in the family home together, you can still proceed with a divorce. In these circumstances, we recommend you get expert legal advice.

An Application for Divorce does not finalise your financial relationship with your spouse or formalise arrangements for your children. Family law matters such as child support and custody will require separate agreements or court orders.

Once a Divorce Order is made, you have 12 months to finalise your property settlement with your former spouse.

After 12 months, you won’t be able to make a property settlement in court, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

If you need further information, our team of expert lawyers can help you through the divorce application process. Take advantage of our obligation-free consultation to learn about your options.

Fixed Fee Options Available

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Fixed Fee Divorce Applications

Cairns Divorce Lawyers can obtain your divorce order for a fixed fee.  This may be of interest to you if:

  • You want a divorce order.
  • You don’t want the hassle or stress of preparing the divorce application and any supporting material yourself.
  • You don’t want to pay expensive legal fees.
  • You want to ensure that your application is prepared, lodged, and served properly so that your divorce order is obtained without delay.
  • You don’t want to deal with your ex-partner directly.

Contact us if you have any questions relating to a family law issue or court proceedings. Learn about your options and obtain a fixed fee quote through an obligation-free, initial consultation with one of our divorce lawyers in Cairns.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get a divorce without my ex signing?

If you have been apart from your spouse for a year or more, the court will grant you a divorce even if your spouse does not agree or sign anything. They can only reject the divorce if you have not been separated for 12 months or in cases where there is no court jurisdiction. If they wish to deny the divorce, they must submit papers to the court and attend the hearing to explain why they want to dismiss the application.

Can I remarry immediately after a divorce?

Once your divorce is finalised, it can take a month before it is legally effective. This means it is not possible to get married again straight away. Doing so would be considered bigamy.

What if I was married overseas?

While the criteria for qualifying for divorce seems relatively straightforward, there are a few aspects that can be complicated:

  • If your spouse is overseas, they must be served at least 42 days before the court hearing.
  • If you are unable to serve them, you will need to follow additional steps.
  • If your marriage certificate is not in English, it will need to be translated and certified as an accurate translation.

To discuss your circumstances with our divorce lawyers, please get in touch.

Do I need to attend the divorce hearing?

You only need to attend a divorce hearing if:

  • you are the sole applicant, and there is a child of the marriage under 18 years of age,
  • either party has objected to the divorce hearing being held without the other party,
  • you have stated that you wish to attend, or
  • the divorce application has been opposed.

Note that the divorce hearings are held electronically via video link and telephone. The Normal Rules of Court, court procedures, and courtesies apply.

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