Melbourne Divorce Lawyers
Providing trusted legal advice and representation to help you with the divorce process
Our Melbourne divorce lawyers can help you finalise your application so that you can put this stressful time in your life behind you. We can also assist with property settlements and parenting matters.
We are proud of our longstanding history of helping families resolve their disputes so that they can move on with their lives.
Our team are here to support you and will help you understand your rights and what steps to take after you have separated from your spouse.
Separation can be a difficult matter to navigate however with our team behind you, we can help you prepare and lodge, or respond to, an application quickly and effectively. We offer a fixed fee for divorce applications (if they are made by consent and there are no minor children).
We know that every family situation is unique, therefore it is important to understand that different circumstances can play a role in how successfully your application will proceed. There may be factors such as if you have not been married for a minimum of 2 years, or if you are unable to locate your former spouse to serve them with the papers, that can impact your application.
Our divorce lawyers in Melbourne can help you determine the best course of action to ensure your application proceeds smoothly and there is as little conflict as possible with your former spouse.
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To apply for a divorce, you must satisfy at least one of the below criteria;
- Australian citizen;
- You ordinarily reside in Australia;
- You consider Australia to be your home and it is your intention to live in Australia indefinitely;
- You have lived in Australia for 12 months immediately preceding filing the divorce application.
To be eligible to apply for a divorce, you must have been separated for a minimum of 12 months from your former spouse. If you and your former spouse reconciled for any period, the 12-month separation period will only begin from the date your reconciliation came to an end.
An Application for Divorce must be filed in the Federal Circuit Court.
Australia has a no-fault divorce system. This means that a court does not consider who was at fault for the breakdown of the marriage.
In order to file for an Application for Divorce, you must:
- Prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down
- Prove that there has been a 12-month separation between you and your former spouse
- Have been married for a minimum of 2 years.
If you have not been married for 2 years, you and your former spouse will be required to attend counselling with the Family Court.
Our Melbourne family lawyers can discuss your unique situation with you to help you determine your eligibility for divorce and guide you through the process.
If you do not meet the eligibility criteria, we will be able to discuss the options available to you and help you navigate the best way forward.
If you are seeking a divorce but you have been married for less than two years, there are some additional steps you need to take.
These steps include:
- Attend mediation with your spouse with a court approved family and child mediator to discuss the possibility of reconciliation. If for any reason you cannot attend the mediation, you will be required to file an affidavit outlining the reasons why counselling is not suitable. Our family lawyers can assist you with this.
- After attending the mediation, and if reconciliation is not an option, you then must include a certificate completed by the counsellor with your divorce application.
There may be special circumstances that will allow you to file an application seeking the court’s permission to proceed with the divorce within 2 years of the marriage. To discuss your family circumstances, contact our Melbourne team any time on 1800 621 071.
In most cases, no, your spouse cannot oppose the divorce. If the court is satisfied that your marriage has irretrievably broken down and that you and your former spouse have been separated for at least 12 months, there are very limited grounds to not proceed with the divorce application.
You must serve your spouse with the divorce papers and ensure you can prove your spouse has been served according to the rules.
“Service” is the delivery of the court documents to your spouse after they have been filed. By serving the divorce papers, this ensures all parties involved have received the documents filed with the court and that everyone involved is aware of the pending divorce application.
Separation under the one roof is quite common when family and financial circumstances prevents one party from moving out during the separation period.
If you are living under the same roof as your former spouse, you will be required to prove your separation to the court, which must demonstrate a complete and open break from the marital relationship.
This can include:
- No longer having any sexual activity
- Living in separate rooms
- Not sharing meals together
- Not sharing mutual entertainment inside or outside the home
- Not sharing bank accounts
- Not portraying to family or friends that the marriage is continuing.
If there are any children under the age of 18 to give consideration to, and your application for divorce is not made jointly by you and your spouse, either you, or your lawyer, will be required to appear in court.
You, or your lawyer, may also be required to appear in court in situations where you are separated but living under the same roof as your former spouse. This is because the court will seek clarity about your separation and may want you to answer some questions.
In some circumstances, the court may be prepared to permit an appearance by phone. If this is appropriate, our family law team can make that application on your behalf.
Our divorce services are provided on a set fee basis when making an Application for Divorce.
The Federal Circuit Court will also charge a separate fee, called a filing fee, for the lodgment of your Divorce Application. If you receive Centrelink benefits or have a concession card, you may be entitled to a discount on the filing fee.
To find out more about the Federal Circuit Court’s filing fee, visit www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au and follow the links to the “Fees” page.
If you would like a quote on our set fees for divorce applications, contact our team any time on 1800 621 071.
You do not need to wait for your divorce to be finalised to make a property settlement. Property settlements are considered a separate legal matter when you are going through a divorce.
Our Melbourne family lawyers have extensive experience in negotiating property settlements. Your lawyer will help you formalise your division of property agreement in a legally binding way at the earliest opportunity.
The only way that a divorce impacts a property settlement is that a divorce will trigger a time limitation period, which if lapsed, can cause issues in making a court application for spousal maintenance or a property settlement. This time limit 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 agreed on a property settlement, you must obtain the court’s permission before you can file a court application.
It can be easy to forget about important legal documents, such as your Will, when you are going through a relationship breakdown. In many cases, if you have these documents in place, you would have included your former spouse as a beneficiary, executor of your estate, or even appointing them as your Power of Attorney.
It is vital that you review your estate plan, including any superannuation and life insurance nominations, as soon as possible after separating from your spouse.
Any gift you have in your Will which you had previously intended to leave to your spouse will become invalid on divorce.
Our family lawyers are supported by a specialist team of Wills and estate planning lawyers who can assist you with all your estate planning needs. We offer a free 30-minute estate planning review to help you identify any areas you need to update and documents you may need to revoke or put in place.
Urgent! Review your estate planning and update your Will and Enduring Power of Attorney
It is imperative to review your estate planning after separation:
- Change your Will immediately, otherwise your ex-spouse may inherit everything if you die;
- Revoke any existing Enduring Power of Attorney to your spouse and replace it with a new one;
- Make sure you review any jointly-owned property or bank accounts and sever the joint tenancy for property (bank accounts should be split into individual accounts);
- Amend any binding nominations you have in place 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 trusts and companies, to see if any assets need protecting from being transferred or sold.
Book an appointment with our Melbourne team today to ensure your most important legal affairs reflect your current circumstances.