Separation and Divorce


It is a very stressful time when a marriage ends and you may or may not feel ready to take the final step of getting divorced. Unless your divorce is amicable and straight forward It is highly advisable to engage a family divorce lawyer to alleviate some of the inevitable stress that arises at this time.

Subject to a limited exception, you need to have been separated for twelve months before you can apply for a divorce.

When you make an application, it can be either jointly with your former spouse or your application alone. If your application is made jointly with your spouse, then you can avoid having to attend divorce court for the hearing of your application for a divorce. Depending on the nature of the intended divorce, mediation and arbitration may well be options rather than court.

While the process of applying for a divorce can be straightforward and you may want to do it yourself. it can be complicated if you have children, as experienced family lawyers our team provide expert guidance to achieve the best outcome for you and your children.

There are also strict rules regarding service of the application on the other spouse. Where a country other than Australia may be able to deal with your divorce this can cause further issues requiring legal advice.

In the event that you have been married overseas and want a divorce in Australia, we can provide specialised advice about this process.


Provided you have separated, it is possible to resolve property and financial issues without getting divorced. The separation date can be an issue in marriage if there is disagreement over the twelve-month waiting period before a divorce application can be made. To put the fact of separation beyond dispute, you must inform your partner of your decision to separate.

Defacto and Same Sex Relationships

The Family Law Act recognises your relationship if you live together as a couple regardless of your sex. The Act treats such relationships differently from marriage in that if the existence of such a relationship or its length is disputed, proof will be required and a Court may have to make a determination on the issue in dispute.

The other difference is that where there is a defacto relationship, parties have two years from the date of separation, within which to commence court proceedings for a property settlement. In a marriage, parties have twelve months from the date their divorce order comes into effect to commence court proceedings for a property settlement.

Once a relationship is found to exist, parties to defacto relationships are treated no differently to parties who are married. As the process for undoing your financial relationship is the same, you should refer to the information on our web site regarding financial issues and asset division. Similarly, the relevant law if there are children of the relationship applies to all parents regardless of the kind of relationship they are in.

To learn more about what is defined as a de facto relationship, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions.


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