Factors to consider prior to filing an application for divorce
Are you separated, and starting to wonder 'what's next'?
If you are married and have been separated for at least 12 months and 1 day, it may be time to consider applying for divorce.
There are two ways to apply for a divorce, either solely or jointly. Applying for a sole application means that you are the only party applying for the divorce. In these circumstances, there is a requirement that the application is served upon the other party, and that appropriate proof is provided to confirm that the application has in fact been served.
In the event that you and your spouse are amicable, you can apply jointly, which removes the need to serve the other party with the divorce application, as both parties will be able to sign the application prior to it being filed.
A filing fee must be paid when the application for divorce is submitted. Currently, this fee stands at $900 - although in the event that a party is eligible for a fee reduction (either by virtue of having a concession card, or through the successful application for financial hardship), the fee is reduced to $300.
Once the application has been filed, the matter is allocated a hearing date, although depending on the specific circumstances of your application, attendance at this hearing may not be required.
It is crucial that parties looking to apply for divorce are aware of the fact that if you are making the application solely and you have children under the age of 18, then either you or your legal representative will be required to attend the hearing. The purpose of this is to ensure that the party is available to answer any questions that the Registrar may have in relation to the care arrangements for the children post-separation, or similarly if there are any other outstanding issues to be addressed.
Following a divorce becoming absolute, there is a 12 month timeline associated with the commencement of property and/or spousal maintenance proceedings, which we strongly suggest any parties considering applying for a divorce take into account prior to making the application.
Although there are certain circumstances where the Family Court may give leave to file an application brought outside of that timeframe, in Coleman Greig's experience it is much easier in the long-run to file an application on time.
Coleman Greig's family law team urges readers to actively consider each of the factors raised in this piece prior to filing an application for divorce. The application itself is relatively straightforward, providing that you have all the documents required to accompany the application - which can be discussed with your family lawyer. It is important to be thoroughly prepared, and for parties to consider whether it may similarly be the right time for you to look at property and parenting arrangements, if these have not already been finalised.
If you would like to speak with a lawyer with regard to divorce, property or parenting matters, or you require advice on the best way to finalise your matter, please don't hesitate to get in contact with one of Coleman Greig's Accredited Family Law Specialists: