Family Law Library

When to File an Application for Divorce in Australia

In Australia, the law allows an application for divorce to be filed only after it becomes clear that the marriage has broken down and there is no chance of reconciliation between the partners. Whether the marriage has broken down to this point or not is being ascertained by the period over which the partners have been separated. Usually this period is of 12 months. The partners may either be separated for a continuous period of twelve months or for periods that amount to 12 months in total. However, in the latter case, it is necessary that any reconciliation should not have lasted for than three months.

The next question to be considered is who can file an application for divorce. Under Australian family law, any one partner or both can file an application for divorce in the Family Court. It is not mandatory for both the partners to want divorce. Either partner may file a divorce application for any marriage that took place within Australia or as long as any one partner is an Australian citizen or is domiciled in Australia. If neither of the above conditions exists, then the partner needs to have been an Australian resident for at least one year to be eligible for filing a divorce application.

Either partner is free to file a divorce application at any time once the separation period of twelve months elapse. Once the application has been filed, it generally takes almost eight weeks for the hearing to begin. It is difficult to estimate how long the proceedings may last before a judgment is reached. However, if no custody of children or divorce property issues are involved, and the partners agree to the divorce, the proceedings are concluded without any unnecessary delays. The decree nisi is issued at the hearing, which is followed by the decree absolute one month later to confirm the divorce.