You are eligible to apply for a Divorce Order once you have been separated for twelve (12) months. You do not need to have been living in separate households during this twelve (12) months and can still be considered as separated if you are living under the one roof. If during part of the twelve (12) month separation period you have spent time separated under one roof, you will be required to prove to the Court that you were separated during this time. For example, you may file an Affidavit confirming you slept in separate beds and did not live as a couple despite being in the same household. If you have children under the age of 18 years, the Court will also need to be satisfied that adequate arrangements have been made for their care since separation.
A Divorce Application can be made by either of you as a sole application or by both of you as a joint application. The advantage of filing a joint application is that you do not need to worry about the service of the application on the other party and there is no requirement for you to attend the Divorce Hearing.
The preparation of a Divorce Application is relatively straight forward with the Court’s online Divorce Kit or alternatively we can prepare an Application for you once you become eligible to apply. You can file your Application for Divorce twelve months and one day after your date of separation. For example if you separate on 1 January 2015 you can file your Application for Divorce on 2 January 2016 or at any later time. A hearing date is usually given approximately 8 to 10 weeks after you have filed your Application for Divorce. Your Divorce Order will come into effect one month and one day after your Divorce Hearing (provided the Divorce Order is made at the hearing). For example if the Divorce Order is made on 1 May it will come into effect on 2 June. You cannot remarry until the Divorce Order comes into effect. In certain circumstances you can apply to have the time between the Divorce Order being made and the Divorce Order coming into effect abridged so that the Divorce Order comes into effect at the time it is made.
Once you are divorced any application for property settlement or spousal maintenance must be filed within 12 months or you will first need to seek the leave of the Court before filing an Application for Property Settlement or Spousal Maintenance. There is no guarantee that the Court will grant leave to file an Application for Property Settlement or Spousal Maintenance out of time. For more information see our information regarding Property Settlement and Spousal Maintenance.
Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you require assistance with your divorce.