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A divorce is a court order marking the end of a marriage. Most divorces can be completed with relative ease, but it is important that you obtain legal advice as to the consequences of applying for divorce, particularly where your assets have not yet been divided. You only have 12 months after a divorce order has been granted to bring an application before the court in relation to the division of property.
To obtain a divorce, the Court must be satisfied of the following:
- That you can prove your marriage: You will need to provide the court with a valid marriage certificate. If your marriage was registered overseas and the certificate is in a different language, you will need to have the certificate translated. If you wish to obtain legal advice about a divorce, please bring your marriage certificate along with you to your appointment.
- That you and your spouse have been separated for at least 12 months: The Court will need to be satisfied that separation occurred more than 12 months ago. If there is a dispute about the date of separation, or the date of separation has been complicated, (for example, by continuing to live together) then it will be important to seek legal advice in relation to the kind of evidence you can provide the Court to confirm the date of separation.
- That the divorce documents have been served correctly: The legal documents that set out the application for a divorce must be served correctly on the other party. This means the documents must be signed in the right places and served on the other party within certain time limits in the correct manner.
- That appropriate arrangements are in place for children of the marriage under 18 years of age: Where there are children of the marriage who are under 18, the Court must be satisfied that there are appropriate arrangements in place for their care and welfare. This means you will likely need to advise the Court of the current parenting arrangements, what school the children attend, and any issues to do with their health.
For some, navigating the divorce application can be difficult due to threats of family violence, language barriers or periods of separation under one roof.
Family law advice can assist you to navigate these issues, and our team of family and relationship lawyers can, of course, assist you to make a divorce application. A lawyer can complete the documents for you, ensure service has been completed correctly, attend Court to answer any questions the Court may have and make sure the divorce order goes through swiftly and easily.
It is also vitally important to receive advice about your Will if you have recently divorced or you are considering a divorce. This is because a divorce order will affect your Will if you have a Will which distributes all or part of your estate to your spouse, or appoints your spouse executor.