Property Division and Parental Rights During a Divorce

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Confused about requirements for getting divorced? Dobinson Davey Clifford Simpson, one of Canberra’s largest and most experienced family law firms, answers questions about divorce.

1. When can I apply for a divorce?

Once you and your spouse have been separated for at least 12 months.

2. Do I need to fill in a form to prove I am separated?

No. You must, however, communicate to your spouse, by your words and/or actions, that you intend to separate. Sometimes the Court will pronounce a divorce even if you and your spouse are living in the same household, but you must provide evidence from an independent witness as to your relationship before and after the separation date.

3. Is fault relevant when it comes to divorce?

The only ground for divorce is that your marriage has broken down irretrievably. This means no reasonable likelihood you and your spouse will reconcile. And you must have been separated for at least 12 months.

4. Can my spouse stop the Court from granting a divorce?

Only in extremely limited circumstances. One circumstance could be when the Court cannot determine separation has occurred or when the Court finds you have not been separated for 12 months.

5. Can I get a divorce without entering into final property orders?

Yes. You do not have to divorce and finalise your property settlement at the same time. Once divorced you must apply for a property settlement and/or spousal maintenance within 12 months. Only in limited cases will the Court extend this time frame.

6. Does the Court require Parenting Orders to be in place before granting a divorce?

No. However, if you have children under 18, the Court must be satisfied that arrangements for them are proper before pronouncing a divorce. If the Court has reservations about this, it may require a report from a family or child counsellor.

For further advice about divorce and other family law issues contact Dobinson Davey Clifford Simpson.