Filing for Divorce in the Land Down Under

By: Toby King

Filing for divorce is no mean feat. Aside from facing the fact that you’re about to end your marital relationship with your spouse and going through an emotional rollercoaster ride, there are also tons of legal issues you need to contend with. There’s also the issue of custody and visitation if you’ve had a child or children in your marriage.

If you live in Australia and you’re filing for divorce for the first time (and hopefully the last time), here are some basic things you need to know:

Complete an application – To apply for divorce, you or your lawyer has to complete an application for divorce. You can also get an application for divorce kit at a Family Courts website. This kit includes step-by-step instructions on how to complete the application. Swear or affirm the application before a lawyer or other person authorized to witness affidavits in your state or territory. For convenience, you can also electronically file a divorce application through the Commonwealth Courts portal.

Have copies of the documents – After signing the application, make 2 photocopies of the completed and signed application along with any supporting documents.

File it – You can file the original and two copies of the application and a copy of your marriage certificate either by hand or by post at a family law registry. You’ll then pay the required fee (find out if you are eligible for a fee reduction). If you were not born in Australia and you intend to rely on your Australian citizenship as a ground to apply for divorce in the country, you must also file a copy of your certificate of Australian citizenship or other proof of citizenship like your passport.

Get the hearing date and documents – After filing, the court then gives you a file number and a date and time for the hearing. If you and your spouse apply jointly, the court will keep your original application and give both of you a sealed copy of the application and an information brochure.

Serve papers – If you applied on your own, you are required to serve a sealed copy of the application and information brochure on your spouse. If your spouse is in Australia, serve the papers at least 28 days before the hearing. If he or she is out of the country, serve them at least 48 hours before the hearing date.

Be present during the hearing – If you have made a sole application and there’s a child or children from the marriage aged under 18 years, you are required to attend the hearing (unless there are valid circumstances that prevent you from being there). However, if you have no child from the marriage who is under 18 years, you’re not required to attend it. This is true for both sole and joint applications.

These are some of the steps when applying for divorce in the land down under. If there are legal issues that you need to resolve, get a family lawyer to help you out with them. (If you live in or around Sydney, get a family lawyer Sydney via ClinchLongLetherbarrow.)

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Get help with the divorce process by hiring a family law expert. You can get a family lawyer Sydney via ClinchLongLetherbarrow.

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