+61 3 8376 6209

FAMILY LAW

Request a callback

Or Call

MON-FRI: 9:00AM – 6:30PM

A friendly member of our team will be in touch with you at a time of your choosing.

*Sorry, we do not accept requests for legal aid at this time.

Divorce & Separation

Our Family Lawyers have expertise in assisting in all aspects of divorce or separation, whether that client is the party applying for a divorce (applicant), or the party receiving an application for divorce (respondent), or going through a separation. Our Family Lawyers and will assist by simplifying and streamlining the divorce process for you.

Our Divorce Lawyers

Are you looking for experienced Family and Divorce Lawyers in Melbourne? Did you know having access to expert legal advice during a divorce can help reduce the costs and stress related with the divorce process. Our Divorce Lawyers are here to help and will advise you on:

  • Divorce Applications;
  • Parenting Orders;
  • Child Support & Spousal Maintenance;
  • Binding Financial Agreements (‘pre-nuptial agreements’); and
  • Property Settlements.

Our Melbourne Divorce Lawyers will assist you in seeking the entitlements available to you, whilst streamlining the divorce process to reduce both the stress and costs typically associated with divorce.

Am I eligible for a divorce? – The Requirements for divorce

For a divorce to be granted by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, the Court must be satisfied that:

  • Your marriage is valid;
  • The marriage has broken down irretrievably, and that there is no prospect, or reasonable likelihood of reconciliation;
  • The parties have been separated for at least one year;
  • Where children are involved, that proper arrangements have been put in place for their ongoing care;
  • If your marriage is less than two years, generally the Court will require parties to first undertake counselling; and
  • At least one party to the marriage lives in Australia, and that the other party is aware of the request to divorce.

What are the steps in a divorce?

Our Family Lawyers will assist in the following steps to be granted a divorce:

  1. Assess your circumstances and advise accordingly;
  2. Prepare and file the application for divorce;
  3. Request urgent orders depending on the applicant’s circumstances;
  4. Once the Court is in receipt of the application and supporting documents, the Court will provide a Hearing date (usually within two to three months), to hear the application for divorce; and
  5. Appear and represent the applicant at the Hearing. The applicant will not be required to attend the Hearing unless a child under the age of 18 is involved.

 

If in the alternative, the client has been served with an application for divorce, as the respondent, they must file and serve their ‘Response to Divorce’ within 28 days if they were served in Australia, or 42 days if they were served overseas. It is very important to respond within the time frame applicable in order to (where relevant) oppose the divorce application, or to dispute any facts, or correct any materials, which will permanently remain in the Court file.

 

If the applicant is granted a divorce at the Hearing, the divorce certificate will be issued one month and one day after the Hearing.

 

Our Divorce Lawyers in Melbourne can assist with this process from start to finish.

Same-sex Divorces

Same-sex married couples have the same legal rights as married heterosexual couples.

 

Click here for more information about same-sex divorces.

I have separated from my partner, now what?

We encourage you to speak to one of our Divorce Lawyers before the 12-months or more separation requirement has been satisfied, as it is important for you be aware of and understand your legal rights and responsibilities.

 

If your circumstances require, you may immediately begin acting on such things such as splitting assets including property, spousal maintenance, or custody arrangements for your child or children.

Settlement of property and other assets

Applicants and respondents do not need to wait until their divorce has been granted to divide their assets. Assets, such as property (including the matrimonial home), vehicles, businesses, or any financial assets, can be divided from the moment of separation.

 

If the applicant is concerned that their partner will sell or give away assets, or enter into loan agreements without their knowledge during the separation period, they can make an urgent application to the Court for an injunction. This will immediately prevent their former partner’s dealings of assets, until after the Court makes its decision. The applicant can apply for an urgent injunction even if the property is solely in their former partner’s name.

What assets will be considered?

The property that you or your former partner own separately or jointly is all considered property of the relationship. This includes things such as:

  • Matrimonial home and household items;
  • Investment property;
  • Vehicles;
  • Businesses/Companies;
  • Savings and other bank accounts;
  • Trusts;
  • Superannuation;
  • Gifts;
  • Inheritances;
  • Compensation payouts;
  • Mortgages; and
  • Loans and other debts.

Parenting Arrangements and Child Support

Depending on your circumstances, you do not have to wait to receive your official divorce documents. Immediately after separation, the parties can agree to decisions in relation to the custody of your children, such as where and who your children will live with, or how long they will spend with each parent. Depending on the arrangements made, which can ultimately be changed in Court, the Court may require parties to enter into an agreement where a child is involved, before granting you a divorce. Although the Court may grant you with a divorce, they may refuse to make it final until satisfied that proper arrangements about your children have been made.

Spousal Maintenance

Unlike child support, there is no automatic entitlement to spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance is paid only by agreement, or by an Order of the Court.

 

You do not have to wait until your divorce application is granted to claim spousal maintenance. Within 12 months of your divorce application, you may be able to claim spousal maintenance from your partner as soon as you separate. Even if you find yourself in a situation where you continue living with your former partner, however, they will not provide you any money to continue living on, you may be able to claim spousal maintenance whilst you are still married.

Documents and information we will request from you

To assist in preparing the divorce application, we will request the following documents and information:

  • Marriage certificate;
  • Property information;
  • All bank statements;
  • Individual tax returns;
  • Business activity statements;
  • Superannuation statements;
  • Insurance policies or statements;
  • Receipts for major items purchased before, during, or after the relationship; and
  • Family and relationship information, including important dates such as when your relationship started, date of marriage, and when you separated.

 

Please note, if you are unable to provide certain information or documents, our Family Lawyers will have access to various databases, search facilities and forensic accountants, that can assist in obtaining the relevant documents and information.

Annulment

If a marriage between two parties is considered not legal, even though a marriage ceremony may have taken place, you can apply to have your marriage annulled.

 

Please note, you cannot have a marriage annulled in Australia for reasons such as change of mind, not having lived together, non-consummation of the marriage, or if your partner commits an act of domestic violence against you. In these circumstances, you will likely have to apply for a divorce.

 

There are various reasons parties can successfully apply to have their marriage annulled, including but not limited to:

  • If they were forced to marry someone;
  • One or both parties were married to somebody else at the time of the wedding; or
  • They did not understand the consequences of the marriage ceremony due to being under the age of 18, or the marriage ceremony held was in another language.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, as long as you have been separated and you can attest to sleeping separately since the separation, you can apply for a divorce.

You can apply for a divorce once you have been separated from your partner for at least 12 months.

You may oppose a divorce application on a number of grounds, including where you have not been separated for 12 months or longer or if you allege there was never a valid marriage.

No, your divorce application is separate to any other property or parenting arrangement applications.

No, they are separate applications, however, applications for property settlement must be filed within 12 months of your divorce.

No, if either you or your former partner are Australia citizens, or permanent residents, then you can file an application for divorce in Australia.

If both parties are agreeable, then you can apply for a joint application for divorce which will be granted quicker than in cases such as where your former partner opposes an application for divorce, one party resides overseas, or if the Court considers that the parenting arrangements made for your children are inadequate.

After our initial complimentary consultation, we will advise you of our anticipated professional fees and disbursement costs (such as Court filing fees).

The Court may determine that one party has to pay their former spouse’s living expenses after separation, depending on the circumstances of the relationship.

To find out more about Spousal Maintenance, click here.

 

No.

We make things easy, efficient, and worry-free. Talk to us today.