No matter which Australian state you live in, before you can start divorce proceedings you have to live apart from your spouse or partner for 12 months and one day. Family lawyers will tell you that it is possible to live in the same house and still be living apart. This sometimes happens if living in another house or other accommodation would be difficult financially.
However, you must prove that you are living apart in the home and that there is no likelihood of reconciliation. For instance, there must be two bedrooms in the house so it is obvious you and your partner are not sharing the same bed.
Attending court for a divorce
If there are no children from your marriage and you apply for a divorce, you don’t have to attend the court hearing. In some cases a couple may have made a joint application for a divorce. In this case, if there are children from the marriage under 18, neither you nor your spouse have to attend the court hearing.
However, if you have made a single application for divorce and there are children from the marriage under 18, you are required to attend the court hearing. If you cannot attend the hearing in person on the date and time set, you must apply to attend by telephone, listing the reason why you are unable to attend in person.
The court now makes no judgement on the reason for a divorce, only that the marriage is irretrievably broken down, proven by the separation period. The only reason for a court appearance is to deal with the custody of the children. A divorce will only be granted where satisfactory arrangements have been made for the care of the children.
How a family lawyer can help
Divorce proceedings can be done online, however, not everyone has computer skills and having the guidance and advice of a family lawyer is invaluable, especially when there are children to take into consideration and if there are assets that must be divided.
Divorce is often accompanied by unpleasantness and recriminations. When people are angry or upset they often cannot think clearly or make good decisions about their future or that of their children. Going to court helps to sort out problems of child custody and division of assets in a fair and equitable manner because the judge is not emotionally involved.
Neither are the family lawyers, which is why their advice can really be the best course of action you can take. For instance, if you are not a native Australian, but can still divorce legally in Australia, you may not have any idea of Australian law, or that you are entitled to a fair division of assets. There may also be other questions you have that can best be answered by a family lawyer.