Gold Coast Divorce Lawyers
We will help you navigate your divorce
Our Gold Coast Family Lawyers can help you achieve the most favourable outcome if you and your former partner are separated and you are ready to finalise your divorce.
We understand that going through a divorce is one of life’s most stressful experiences. Our Gold Coast Family Law team can guide you through the entire process, helping you prepare, lodge, or respond to, an Application for Divorce.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to how smoothly your application may proceed. As everyone’s situation is unique, we take the time to understand your circumstances and what needs to be done to ensure your interests are protected and that conflict can be reduced as much as possible.
If you and your former partner have been separated but living under the one roof, if you cannot find your former partner to serve them with an Application for Divorce, or if you have been married for less than two years, we will help you understand what steps you need to take to ensure your application for divorce can proceed smoothly.
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If you satisfy at least one of the below criteria, you will be eligible to make an application for divorce in Australia:
- If you are an Australian citizen;
- If you ordinarily reside in Australia;
- If you consider Australia as your home and your intention is to live in Australia indefinitely;
- If you have lived in Australia for 12 months immediately preceding filing the Application for Divorce.
An Application for Divorce must be filed in the Federal Circuit Court. Australia’s divorce process is a “no-fault” system and accordingly, the only requirement before filing the application is that you and your former partner have been separated for at least 12 months before filing the application.
You and your former partner must have been separated for at least 12 months before you can apply for a divorce. If you and your former partner reconciled during that time, then the 12-month period will start after the reconciliation ended.
In Australia, a court does not consider who was at fault in the breakdown of a marriage.
In order to file an Application for Divorce, you will need to:
- Prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken and that you and your former partner have been separated for a period of no less than 12 months;
- Have been married for more than two years, or that you have attended the required counselling with the Family Court.
If you are unsure if you are eligible to file an Application for Divorce, our Gold Coast Family Lawyers will be able to help you determine what steps you need to take and what options you may have available to you. Contact the team any time to discuss your circumstances by calling 1800 621 071.
If you were married less than 2 years ago, and still want to apply for a divorce, you will need to:
- Attend mediation alongside your spouse with a court approved family and child mediator to talk about the possibility of reconciliation. You will then need to file a certificate completed by the counsellor with your application. If you cannot attend the mediation, you must file an affidavit outlining the reasons why counselling is not an option.
- In special circumstances, you may file an application seeking the court’s permission to proceed within 2 years of the marriage.
If the court is satisfied that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and that you and your former partner have been separated for at least 12 months, there are very limited grounds for the divorce to be opposed. However, you must prove that your spouse was served according to the rules.
“Service” is the delivery of the court documents to your spouse after they have been filed. By serving the documents, this ensures all parties have received the documents filed with the court and that all parties are aware of the pending divorce application.
If you still live under the same roof as your former partner, you must prove separation and provide this evidence to the court. The action of separating must involve a complete and open break from the marital relationship. This can include:
- Living in separate rooms
- Not sharing meals together or mutual entertainment inside or outside the home
- Ceasing all sexual activity
- Operating separate bank accounts
- Not providing household services
- Not representing to friends, family, or colleagues that the marriage is continuing.
Whether you are required to appear in court will depend on the circumstances of your application. An appearance by you or your legal representative will be required if there are children under the age of 18 and the application is not made jointly by you and your spouse.
If you are stating that you are separated but you have continued living under the same roof as your spouse, it is likely the court will expect an appearance by you or your legal representative to answer some questions about your separation. There are circumstances where the court may be prepared to permit an appearance by telephone. If this is appropriate we can make that application on your behalf.
Attwood Marshall Lawyers charge a set fee for Applications for Divorce. You will also need to be aware of filing fees that the Federal Circuit Court will charge to lodge your application, which can be reduced if you receive Centrelink benefits or have a concession card. For more information about the filing fee, visit www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au and follow the links to the “Fees” page.
No, you do not need to wait to be divorced to make a property settlement with your former partner. Divorce and property settlements are two separate legal matters. A divorce will affect a property settlement by triggering a time limitation period, which if lapsed, can cause issues in making a court application for property settlements or spousal maintenance. This time limitation period commences once the divorce order is final (which is one month and one day after the divorce application hearing date). If 12 months has passed after your divorce is final and you have not yet finalised a property settlement, you must obtain the court’s permission before you can file a court application.
Any gift you have in your Will which you had previously intended to leave to your spouse will become invalid on divorce. It is extremely important to review your Will and discuss your change of situation with an estate planning lawyer when you separate from your spouse. You need to give consideration to your Will, Enduring Power of Attorney, Appointment of Enduring Guardian, and superannuation and life insurance nominations.
Urgent! You need to update your Will and Enduring Power of Attorney and review your estate planning
After you have separated from your former spouse, it is very important to review your estate planning :
- Your Will needs to be changed immediately. If you fail to do so, your ex-spouse may inherit everything if you pass away;
- If you have an existing Enduring Power of Attorney to your spouse, you must revoke it and replace it with a new one;
- Review any jointly-owned property or bank accounts and sever the joint tenancy for property. Bank accounts should be split into individual accounts as soon as possible;
- Change any binding nominations in your superannuation or death cover (life insurance) policies and/or Self-Managed Superannuation Funds;
- Check on the control of any business entities, such as companies and trusts, to see if any assets need protecting from being transferred or sold.
Book an appointment with our Gold Coast team today to ensure your most important legal affairs reflect your current circumstances.