Sydney Divorce Lawyers

Family Law

Providing expert legal advice to assist you with navigating divorce

If you and your former spouse are separated and are ready to put an end to your marriage, our Sydney Family Lawyers can help you file for divorce or respond to an application for divorce. 

Attwood Marshall Lawyers have been helping Sydney families for over 75 years resolve complicated family law matters. Our experienced divorce lawyers can help you understand what steps to take after separation in order to finalise your divorce.

Australia adopts a “no fault” divorce system. This means that the grounds for divorce is an irretrievable breakdown of marriage, which involves a 12-month separation with no likelihood of reconciliation.

We understand that going through a divorce is one of life’s most stressful events. It is our goal to support you throughout this difficult time and do everything we can to help you move on with your life.

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FAQs

An Application for Divorce must be filed in the Federal Circuit Court. To apply for divorce, you must satisfy at least one of the below criteria:

  • You are an 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.

Before filing an Application for Divorce, you and your former spouse must have been separated for a minimum of 12 months. If you have reconciled during that time, the 12-month separation period will only start after the reconciliation ended.

To file an Application for Divorce, you will need to:

  • Prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and that you and your former spouse have been separated for at least 12 months.
  • Have been married for more than two years, or if you have not been married for two years you will be required to attend counselling with the Family Court.

Our Sydney lawyers can help you understand the divorce eligibility criteria and provide you with personalised advice on what options you have available to you if you do not meet these requirements.

If you want to apply for divorce but have not been married for a minimum of 2 years, there are some additional steps you will need to take, including:

  • Attending mediation with your spouse with a court approved family and child mediator to discuss reconciliation. If you cannot attend the mediation for any reason, you will be required to file an affidavit outlining the reasons why counselling is not suitable.
  • After attending the mediation, you will then need to file a certificate completed by the counsellor with your divorce application.


There are special circumstances that may 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 unique circumstances, contact our Sydney family lawyers any time on 1800 621 071.

If the court is satisfied that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and that you and your former spouse have been separated for at least 12 months, there are very limited grounds for your former spouse to oppose the divorce. It is important to note that you must prove that your spouse was served the divorce papers according to the rules.

“Service” is the delivery of the court documents to your spouse after they have been filed. By serving the divorce documents to your spouse, this ensures all parties involved have received the required documents filed with the court and that they are aware of the pending divorce application. 

If you still live under the same roof as your former spouse, you have an obligation to prove separation. The action of separating must involve a complete and open break from the marital relationship, which may include:

  • Stopping all sexual activity
  • Living in separate rooms
  • Not sharing meals together
  • Not sharing mutual entertainment inside or outside the home
  • No longer sharing bank accounts
  • Not portraying to friends or family members that the marriage is continuing.

You will need to provide evidence to the court to prove your separation.

If there are children under the age of 18 to consider, and your application for divorce is not made jointly by you and your spouse, a court appearance will be required by you or your legal representative.

In situations where you are separated but living under the same roof as your former spouse, it is likely that the court will expect an appearance by you or your legal representative in order to seek clarity and have questions answered about your separation.

In some circumstances, the court may be prepared to permit an appearance by telephone. If this appropriate, our family lawyers can make that application on your behalf.

We charge a set fee for divorce applications. In addition to our set fee, the Federal Circuit Court charges a filing fee for the lodgment of your application.

This filing fee can be reduced if you receive Centrelink benefits or have a concession card. For more information about the Federal Circuit Court’s filing fee, visit www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au and follow the links to the “Fees” page.

To find out more about our set divorce fees please contact our team on 1800 621 071.

No, you do not need to wait for your divorce to be finalised in order to make a property settlement. Divorce and property settlements are two separate legal matters.

Attwood Marshall Lawyers have extensive experience in negotiating property settlements and can help you formalise your agreement in a legally binding way before you are divorced.

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 a property settlement 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.

Divorce effects your Will and your estate plan. It is important to review your Will, Power of Attorney and Appointments of Enduring Guardian, as well as superannuation and life insurance nominations and any other estate planning documents when you separate 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.