Having a secret affair is one of the common reasons why couples are caught up in a huge argument leading to the breakdown of the marriage. Such situation normally creates severe emotional upset causing the offended party to file for a divorce and end the marriage bond with the guilty party.
However, in a “no-fault” legal system like Australia, report of a spouse having a secret affair is not a relevant argument for the court to grant a divorce decree. As opposed to the United States jurisdiction, Australian family courts do not give much focus on who the innocent party is and who is to be blamed.
In deciding whether or not divorce should be granted, the court oversees the entirety of the change in the characteristics of marriage that lead to its breakdown rather than the little insignificant details.
In order for one party to validly apply for a divorce, it is sufficient to prove that the marriage is irretrievable, hence they should part ways. Under the family law, couples need to satisfy the court that they have lived separately for at least 12 months and that there is no reasonable possibility for them to live together as husband and wife.
The only ground for divorce in Australia is a separation for at least 12 months. Some couples are still living in the same house but are already separated. This may not mean that the court does not acknowledge the fact that the other party has committed a secret affair which caused him to experience severe emotional distress. It should be mentioned that the court will only deal with the legalities coming up from family disputes. Emotional troubles, which are more of a personal issue, may be handled by a family counsellor.
Thus, if a husband files for a divorce against his wife on the grounds of unfaithfulness, the court will still uphold the principle of ‘irretrievability of marriage.’ Proving that there is a secret affair is not relevant to resolve the case but the husband can establish that he and his wife have been separated for at least 12 months for the application to be valid.
To apply for a divorce, couples must complete an application for divorce and file it with the court either jointly or separately. When only one party files for a divorce, the other party will become the respondent.