How long does the divorce process take?

The divorce process is faster with “no-fault” divorce. A divorce becomes final one month and one day from the divorce order. There is really no way to specifically determine how long a divorce will take. It is up to the court to schedule the date for a hearing which of course will depend on the court dockets. Fortunately for Australia, it has a “no-fault” divorce principle which means that courts will not go into the reasons for the breakdown of the marriage.

The Process

The process is less time-consuming with a “no-fault” divorce. So, while the divorce may take some time, it should take too long.

The applicant only needs to show to the court’s satisfaction that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and that there is no likelihood of resuming married life. Towards this end, the applicant must prove to the court that the applicant and his spouse have lived separately and apart for at least 12 months prior to the application.

The applicant who is in a hurry to get over with the divorce must ensure that before he files his application he has already complied with the 12 months separation requirement. Failure to comply with the 12 months requirement may be a ground for opposing the divorce or the denial of the application.

A divorce is initiated by filing an application with the family law registry. This application must be signed and sworn before a lawyer, Justice of the Peace or a person who is authorized to administer oaths.

The application for divorce must be served to the other party. So, a person who is concerned with how long a divorce will take must note in his time computation the number of days within which the application must be served.

An applicant is given 28 days before the scheduled hearing within which to serve the document to his spouse in Australia. If the spouse is residing abroad the applicant is given 42 days before the hearing to serve the application.

An applicant who is in a hurry must immediately serve the divorce application to his spouse just in case the latter responds. If there is a Response to Divorce, it must be served to the applicant within 28 days from receipt of the application if the applicant is in Australia or 42 days if residing abroad.

Joint Application

Joint applications for divorce may be settled faster as opposed to a sole application which is subject to opposition from the other spouse. The other spouse may decide to file a Response to the Divorce so the court will have to consider this document.

Sole Application

In a sole application for divorce, the parties have to attend the court hearing if there are children below 18 years of age. With a joint application, even if there are children below 18 years of age the parties don’t need to attend the court hearing anymore. Despite that it is a no-fault divorce, the Family Law Act 1975 mandates that the arrangements for the children must be considered in the divorce proceedings.

Lastly, a divorce order might not be issued on the first hearing. So, those who are planning to remarry must take into account that a divorce becomes final one month and one day from the divorce order.

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