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Understanding the Divorce Process in Queensland, Australia

25th February 2020

Divorce rates are the lowest they have been in 40 years, but this still doesn’t guarantee every marriage will last. For some spouses, divorce is the best option.

Does this sound like your situation? If you’re getting divorced, you should know the divorce process in Queensland. A lot goes into divorce, from property matters to parenting agreements. Here’s how divorce works in Queensland.

What Are the Procedures for Getting Divorced in Australia?

If your marriage is rocky and you want a divorce, there are specific steps involved in the process of divorce. Here are the procedures you need to know.

Separation

Australian spouses need to be separated for at least 12 months before applying for a divorce. Ideally, both spouses should be living under different roofs during this time.

What if you have both been living under the same roof during your separation? And what if you married less than two years before separating? It’s recommended you seek legal advice before applying for a divorce.

Fill Out a Divorce Application

If you're wondering how to start the divorce process, the first action you need to take is filling out a divorce application. You can either prepare the application yourself or jointly with your former spouse. The Application for Divorce form is available on the Federal Circuit Court of Australia website.

The Federal Circuit Court website has useful information on the application and the common questions that applicants have. If you’re still unsure about anything related to your application, seek assistance from a divorce lawyer.

From here, pay the court filing fee.

What Happens in a Divorce? Other Considerations to Know

While every divorce is different, here are some other factors to consider.

Is Quick Divorce Possible?

A quick divorce isn’t allowed in Australia. Couples must be separated for 12 months. If there’s a 3-month period of failed reconciliation, the 12-month separation restarts. The process of applying and finalising divorce takes about four months.

What about child custody? It’s recommended both parents take equal responsibility when raising children during separation. If this can’t be fulfilled, the children can stay with other relatives, such as grandparents.

Filing Independently and Divorce Disagreement

There are times when one spouse will want a divorce and the other one wants to keep the marriage.

If a spouse is filing independently, they must prove the marriage is “irretrievably broken down.” Both spouses have the right to know about any court dates and required documents and deadlines for court hearings.

What if you don’t agree with the divorce? You must file a response prior to the hearing.

Short Marriages

If you and your spouse have been married for less than two years, you’re required to attend counselling and receive a certificate from your counsellor. If this is not possible, you must file an affidavit explaining why not. From here, standard divorce procedures apply.

Reasons for Divorce

Australian courts won’t punish you for certain divorce reasons, such as an affair. That’s because of the “irretrievably broken down” law that acts as a “no-fault” jurisdiction. The Court does not want to know why your marriage has broken down only that it has. 

Can We Remarry Immediately After Divorce?

Your divorce order takes a month to come into effect, which means you cannot remarry right away. Remarrying immediately is a form of bigamy.

The Court Process

Not every divorce requires a court hearing. But attending court is necessary if and when:

After filling your application you will be given a court date. You and your former spouse will be present, as well as your lawyers (your lawyer can also attend the hearing on your behalf) if necessary.

The Registrar will ask about any information found on your application. If you have children under 18 years of age, the Registrar will ask about their arrangements, such as:

If the Registrar is satisfied with your outcome, they will grant your divorce. Your divorce will be finalised one month and one day from the hearing. You and your former spouse will receive a Divorce Order if you provided your address.

Divorce in Queensland: Who Gets What

It’s recommended spouses settle their assets and child custody personally, with the help of a lawyer. But there comes a time when the court needs to intervene.

The two most important aspects are property and child custody. Here’s more information about both.

Property

You and your spouse should name your liabilities, assets, and superannuation interests. You must list all properties, including those you own separately and jointly, or assets either of you own with a third party.

You must then consider the contributions you’ve had during your marriage. This includes direct, indirect, financial, and non-financial contributions, and any contributions made after separation are also included.

From here, the court will look at the contributions and display this as a percentage. Adjustments are then made to that percentage depending on the future needs of each party.

To simplify the process and to protect your assets, hiring a lawyer is recommended.

Child Custody

If you and your former spouse can’t agree on a Parenting Plan, you must attend court for a Parenting Order.

Every family is unique and the court will judge the outcome based on the child's best interest.

What if there’s violence in the household? It’s important to seek the help of a lawyer to ensure your children are safe.

A Lawyer Can Help With the Divorce Process

The divorce process in Queensland can be complex. That’s why it’s recommended to have the best divorce lawyer in Queensland on your side. If you own property within the marriage, a lawyer will help you protect your assets.

We specialise in divorce and family matters, from mediation to property settlement and child custody.
Contact us today to get started.

Please note the content of this post is information only and not legal advice.  If you require legal advice it is best to contact one of our lawyers who can review your particular circumstances and then provide tailored advice according to your needs.

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