what are the first steps in getting a divorce
the court’s decision
Once you have fitted the criteria for a divorce you have to follow a number of steps as explained below:
Fill in the application form for a divorce. You can do this on your own or with your ex partner. It has to be signed by a solicitor or a Justice of the Peace.
You will now have to send or take the application to the federal circuit court with a marriage certificate photocopy and the originals and 2 copies of any affidavits. You will have to pay a fee at this point in time. You will then be given a hearing date.
You will now have to formally inform your husband by giving him, either through the mail or in person, but not yourself:
- a copy of the divorce application which has been sealed;
- copies of any other documents you have sent with the application;
- a copy of the leaflet called “Marriage, Families and Separation”.
He has to sign the Acknowledgement of Service form for the divorce to proceed so you have to be confident that he will do this. This notice has to be presented to him no less than 28 days prior to the date of the hearing or 42 days if he is overseas.
Present to the court an affidavit of service by the person who served your husband with the divorce. Also, present to the court the Acknowledgement of Service form which bears your husband’s signature.
Attendance at the court hearing is necessary if you have children less than 18 years of age. If you don’t, then you do not need to attend. You will inform the court that you are the divorce applicant and you would like a grant for divorce.
There are a number of ways that the Court may handle your divorce application. It may grant the divorce instantly or it may grant a divorce but will not finalise until there is confirmation on arrangements for the children.
Also, a divorce decision may be delayed if the Court does not have the required evidence confirming that your husband was served properly with the divorce application in the first place.
If grounds for your divorce are not applicable, such as the minimum 12 month separation period, then your divorce application could be dismissed altogether. If the court is satisfied, then the final divorce order will be granted which will take effect one calendar month following the hearing.
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.