Gold Coast Divorce Lawyers at ABKJ
It goes without saying that navigating divorce proceedings is going to be one of the most difficult and significant times of your life. Going it alone can be even harder.
Emotions run high and the unknown of what life looks like on the other side of separation can be the hardest part to deal with. That is why it is often beneficial to have third parties involved to lessen the load, offer experience and advice, and deliver to you an outcome that will help you move on in the most positive way.
We are here to help.
Below we will look at some of the main questions regarding the process which you will go through to get divorced, the financial impact of divorce, and of course, how divorce will impact your family.
The best way to get a true understanding of your personal choices, obligations and the impact of divorce for your specific circumstances is always to talk to an experienced family lawyer, and we hope to assist you in this regard. Whilst we recommend getting personal advice, we hope the information provided here will be helpful to you in taking the next steps to your better future.
How does a divorce work?
A divorce is defined as the legal dissolution of a marriage by a Court or other competent body. Whilst related, a divorce can also be separate from matters relating to property of the marriage or to children of the marriage. The divorce can take place without those related matters being finally dealt with.
Married couples can apply for a divorce if the marriage has broken down irretrievably. An application can be made if the parties have been separated for at least 12 months and one of the parties:
- Must regard Australia as their home and intend to live in Australia indefinitely; or
- Be an Australian citizen by birth, descent or by grant of Australian citizenship; or
- Live in Australia and have done so for 12 months immediately before filing the divorce.
Below we look at the steps involved when you are applying for a divorce in Australia and we touch on some important issues.
The Divorce Application Process
Step 1 – Separating
In Australia you must have been separated for at least 12 months prior to applying for a divorce.
If the marriage is under 2 years then the parties must attend mediation and receive a certificate from the mediator stating that there is no possible reconciliation. You are exempt from obtaining a certificate if there is a history of violence or it is not reasonable to do so.
If any of the above circumstances are similar to your own, or you are unsure, you should seek legal advice as there may be additional requirements that you must meet.
Step 2 – Application to the Court
When you have decided to make the application for divorce you can make the application by yourself or jointly with your former partner. An application for divorce, which can be downloaded from the Federal Circuit Court of Australia website, must be completed and filed with the Federal Circuit Court Registry.
You will be charged a filing fee for the application, however, if you are in possession of a pension or government card you may qualify to receive a discount on the Court filing fee.
We will be able to assist you if you have any questions about completing the application for divorce including applying for fee reduction.
Step 3 – Hearing of the application for divorce
Once you file the application in Step 2, the Court will provide you with a hearing date. On that date you must attend if:
- You made the application for divorce yourself; and/or
- Where you and your former partner have children under the age of 18.
If you do not have children under the age of 18 and/or if you and your former partner made the application for divorce jointly, you can choose not to attend the hearing.
If you attend the hearing the Registrar (who hears the divorce applications), may ask you questions about the information in your application or about service of the application. In relation to children, the Registrar may ask about arrangements for the children such as which parent they live with, how often they see the other parent and how you financially support the children. Once the Registrar is satisfied, the Registrar will make an order that the grounds for the divorce have been established and the Court will grant the divorce.
If the Registrar is not satisfied with an answer, he may order you and your ex-partner to amend the application, or provide further evidence to assist the Court in making an order.
When the order is made the divorce will be final one month and one day from the date of the hearing.
It is possible to act on your own when applying for a divorce, however, many people find that it is more convenient and efficient to engage a lawyer to assist. We are highly experienced in divorce law and can provide you with advice and assistance at any stage of the divorce process.
Please call our office on (07) 5532 3199 to make an appointment to speak to one of our divorce law solicitors.
The Financial Impact of Divorce
One of the main concerns about separation and the division of property is the financial impact on each of the parties. Whilst, of course, there will be fees involved in the actual processing of any property settlement, as with the creation of any binding and legal document, there are amicable solutions achievable which can minimise those costs.
When entering into a marriage, neither party usually expects to deal with a later divorce. For this reason, there are many more marriages that do not have a prenuptial agreement on property division, than do.
However, the reality is that in this day and age, more people feel they have a freedom to leave a marriage when it no longer promises the future they expected getting into it. But, marriage is a serious commitment to your future, and will have a huge impact on that future, whether or not you stay within the marriage.
Both parties usually enter into a marriage with the expectation of building a family together, and for this reason, one party will often take a step back from the workplace in order to facilitate this endeavor.
When this circumstance arises, any property settlement may need to recognise that sacrifice. We are here to help in navigating what you are entitled to receive or obliged to pay when it comes to child support, or other forms of financial assistance relevant to the particular situation of your marriage.
The Effect Of Divorce On The Family
This is often the most difficult part of divorce that a parent has to deal with. Most parents will think that it is more important than the financial aspects of divorce, but the long term interests of all members of the family requires both to be considered.
You have always given your children everything you can, offered them every opportunity available, but you also know, that doing so costs money. No matter which school they attend, nothing is free. Whether it is lunch money, uniform costs, school fees or extra curricular programs; these things need to be paid for. To reduce the disruption to your child or children's life throughout this time, how these costs are covered in the immediate and longer term is incredibly important.
While you and your partner work out parenting arrangements and custody, you need to have an agreement in place that will enable your children to carry on as normally as possible without huge interruption to their learning routines. It is never easy for a child to understand why their family dynamic has altered, but the impact can be reduced by cordial interactions between the parents, and keeping changes to their routine to a minimum.
At this early stage in the divorce proceedings, it can be beneficial to have an experienced third party on board to help navigate these unknown waters.
It is necessary, as you finalise a divorce, to re work your last will and testament as well as consider other issues relevant to your family such as possibly reverting to maiden names, and how this impacts other legal documents and the names of your children.
Perhaps you have relocated to another state during your marriage and now that it is ending, you wish to return to another part of Australia? Depending on the custody agreement, the other parent may have the right to block you from moving interstate, so it is very important to seek legal counsel to understand your rights and obligations in relation to moving children away from their current abode.
Starting Your Divorce Application
We appreciate you are going through one of the most difficult times in your life, so our lawyers are committed to doing everything they can to make things just that little bit easier. We have years of experience winning the best possible outcomes for our clients, and we will go out of our way to make sure you understand what is going on at all times.
We are committed to ensuring that we provide you with discreet, meaningful advice on your rights and obligations, no matter what circumstance you find yourself in.
More About Family Law & Divorce
We have included the following resources with more information for anyone going through divorce:
- Separation & Divorce FAQs
- De Facto & Same Sex FAQs
- Children in Family Law FAQs
- Family Law: Alternatives to Court
- ABKJ Blog: Family Law