A Guide to Divorce Documents
Applying for a Divorce Order can be an overwhelming prospect depending on the current relationship you have with your former partner. Irrespective of how amicable you are with your spouse, whether it was you or your spouse that was the one to initiate separation, or whether a long time has passed since separation, there is undoubtedly a huge range of emotions that can be experienced when you start divorce proceedings.
It has been our experience, at Damien Greer Lawyers, that most of our clients prefer to have a solicitor act on their behalf in relation to divorce proceedings, not only for the reassurance of ensuring that all procedural requirements have been complied with, but also to act as a “buffer” between themselves and their former partner at what is often an emotional stage.
Listed below, we cover some of the initial documents that you will need to familiarise yourself with if and when you want to obtain a Divorce Order. In some cases, if your partner has initiated divorce proceedings as the sole applicant you may already be aware of some of these documents that were ‘served’ upon you.
Application For Divorce – the formal starting point to initiate a divorce under the Family Law Act of 1975 is an Application for Divorce. In order to be eligible to make an Application for Divorce, the parties to the Application must agree that they have been separated for at least 12 months and that there is no reasonable likelihood of reconciling.
Acknowledgement of Service – once the Application for Divorce has been served, the recipient is required to formally acknowledge receipt of the Application by signing and returning the Acknowledgement of Service to the Applicant.
Response to Divorce – in the event that you are served with an Application for Divorce and you do not agree that you and your spouse have been separated for a period of 12 months or longer, you will need to fill out and file a Response to Divorce.
The above documents, available from the Family Court of Australia are intended to be simple and free of legal complexities, however, it is still highly advisable to seek professional legal advice throughout divorce proceedings as there are strict time limits in place for initiating financial proceedings in Court once a Divorce Order has been granted. There can also be unintended consequences of accepting what facts are contained within an Application for Divorce as the Respondent, which is why it is important to note any points of factual disagreement.
When completing the Application for Divorce, you will also need some supporting documents such as your Marriage Certificate. This can present a common stumbling block if the estranged sole applicant no longer has access to this document. If the applicant does not have their marriage certificate, a copy must be obtained from the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry in the State or Territory in which the marriage took place. In a scenario where the applicant married outside Australia, they should contact the relevant authority in that country and obtain a copy of their marriage certificate.
While the initial documents are not overly complex per se, consequences can flow and complexities can arise from the factual content contained within an Application and parties need to be mindful of this as well as the time limits that apply for initiating proceedings for financial matters once a Divorce Order is made. For these reasons, and for the ease of eliminating barriers, hostility or additional emotional upset while undergoing a highly stressful period in your life, we encourage clients to engage with a solicitor to assist them in this process.
One of Queensland’s leading family law firms, Damien Greer Lawyers, offer a full range of legal services for those undergoing separation or divorce including mediation, arbitration and collaborative law. Please contact our family law team to discuss how we can help or call 3837 5500.