Navigating You Through the Unfortunate Breakdown of Your Marriage

Falzon Legal — Your Divorce Lawyers in Sydney

Marriage should be the exclusive and loving match of two people for life — yet sadly, it can end in Divorce.

While the legal application and process are remarkably straightforward — the real-life practicalities are often far from simple. Not only do you have to consider the very real prospects of settlements, property, and child custody — but also cope with the inevitable heartache, pain, and disorientation.

At Falzon Legal — we know that splitting from your partner is so much more than obtaining Divorce papers.

Relentlessly considerate and ceaselessly comforting, we will guide and support you through every step of the process. Continually acting in your best interests — and recommending applicable pathways to simplify any transitions — your worries and burdens will be eased by our proactive and understanding approach.

Who Can Get Divorced in Australia?

If you are in a relationship that has been formalised through a legal marriage, you can apply for divorce in Australia if you or your partner:

  • Is domiciled (living as their main residence) in Australia, or
  • Has been living in Australia for one year prior to applying for Divorce, or
  • Is a citizen of Australia — either by birth or naturalisation.

As long as you can meet one of these criteria, you may then make an application to divorce to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCA).

Furthermore, a successful Divorce process means the FCFCA needs to accept that:

  • You are in a union that is validated with a legal marriage.
  • The marriage has deteriorated to a point where it cannot be saved.
  • You and your spouse have both separated and resided apart for a period of 12 months or longer.

Bear in mind, that you can still live in the same property, yet be considered to be residing apart and separated — known as separated under one roof. However, we suggest obtaining legal advice on this situation, as it needs to be proven to the Court that while you may live in the same building as your future ex-spouse, the relationship is non-existent.

And, if your marriage has lasted for no longer than 24 months, it is a legal requirement for you both to attend counselling — to see if the relationship can, in any way, be salvaged. 

That said, there are some exclusions to this rule — for example, where one party is subject to violence, or indeed the risk or threat of violence.

Is Filing for Divorce the Same as a Marriage Annulment?

Marriage annulment nullifies a marriage from the very beginning — effectively, stating that the union was never legal. This is opposed to Divorce, where the marriage was legal, and the end of the union occurs at the completion of the Divorce process.

While much more uncommon than Divorce, it still occurs in Australia — usually due to one of the following grounds:

  • One party of the union was, at the time of the alleged marriage, not of an age to legally marry.
  • One partner was already married to another person at the time of the marriage.
  • Legally forbidden marriage — for example, between brothers and sisters.
  • The person conducting the marriage had no legal authorisation to perform the ceremony.
  • One party was exposed to threats, fraud, or duress to compel them to marry. 
  • Mental cognition — if one partner was not in full mental clarity and unable to consent to marriage.
  • False representation — if one party did not know the true identity of the other.

Annulment is, in many circumstances, much more complex and nuanced than Divorce — legal representation is crucial. Furthermore, should a marriage be annulled, it doesn’t alone address any associated matters such as Property Transfer or Child Custody.

Applying for annulment is heart-wrenching, stressful, and in some cases, frightening. Falzon Legal will unwaveringly support you through this uncomfortable process.

Believe Your Marriage Might Not Be Legal? Talk to Us Immediately

How To Get a Divorce in Australia

As long as you can meet the criteria for Divorce in NSW, you’re entitled to make an application. 

In most circumstances, the process works like this:

1: Submit an Application for Divorce, in triplicate, to the FCFCA.

2: Provide the required supporting documentation — usually, your Marriage Certificate, proof of Australian residence or citizenship, and a Certification of Counselling for unions of 24 months or less.

3: Pay the Court’s current filing fee for a Divorce Application.

4: The Court will provide a Hearing Date — typically, eight weeks from the date upon which you delivered the application.

5: Serve a copy of the Divorce Application to the respondent — that is, the person you intend to divorce. This must be delivered by someone over the age of 18 (not yourself), and at least 28 days before the Hearing.

6: Swear an Affidavit — stating that the respondent has been presented with the Divorce Application, who delivered it, and any conversations or interactions that occurred.

7: The Court will consider the information provided at the Hearing, and assuming it is satisfied that there are no grounds on which to reject the Application, will grant a Decree Nisi. 

Today, most Hearings are conducted electronically, with no requirement to attend Court — unless the marriage involves children under 18, or the respondent has filed a Response to Divorce.

8: One month and one day after the Decree Nisi was issued, you will receive a Decree Absolute. This declares the legal end of the marriage.

Applying for a Divorce is, in theory, straightforward. With online filing available, the process can be relatively effortless — effectively, you can do it without the assistance of a legal professional.

However, without a Family and Divorce Lawyer making you aware of the possible pitfalls — and dealing with any hurdles or contestations — you could be exposing yourself to expensive and worrying risks.

At Falzon Legal, we will lead you supportively through the Divorce process — defending your rights, acting professionally in continual pursuance of the best outcome, and ensuring you feel listened to and understood.

Applying for Divorce Without a Lawyer

If both parties agree to divorce, it’s an amicable agreement, and financial and property matters are undisputed — you may be able to successfully end the marriage without a Family Divorce Lawyer.

But, be careful. Divorce may be simple — the implications and repercussions can be complex.

The end of a marriage can have a knock-on effect on other areas of your life, including:

  • Pensions.
  • Inheritance and intestacy (dying without a Will).
  • Child custody.
  • Allocation of property.
  • Maintenance payments.

Specialised Divorce Solicitors — such as Falzon Legal — have the experience and knowledge to advise on how the end of your marriage can affect other crucial matters. Furthermore, we can ensure that no mistakes are made in the application — which could nullify the dissolution request, or necessitate expensive action to rectify.

Don’t Put Yourself at Risk, Gain Advice From Your Local Divorce Lawyers — Speak With Us Today

Response to Divorce

If you have served your current spouse with an Application to Divorce — or, you have received one from your partner — the request can be challenged by submitting a Response to Divorce.

This is filed when the respondent does not agree with the information and detail outlined in the Application for Divorce, and:

  • Wants the Divorce to proceed, but does not concur with the detail, or
  • Disagrees with the stated date of separation, and does not desire the Divorce to proceed.

In such circumstances — and irrespective of whether you’re the applicant or respondent — guidance from a Family Lawyer is critical.

If you instigated the Divorce, a Response can indefinitely delay the Decree Absolute — or throw unexpected challenges and legal intricacies into the mix. This can be particularly stressful if the relationship has become unbearably uncomfortable — and you wish to gain closure as soon as possible.

Conversely, if you’ve received an Application for Divorce from your current spouse and it arrives as a complete surprise, you don’t want a separation, or the detail contained within is incorrect, unfair, or unjust — you may experience shock, confusion, and disorientation.

In either case — speak to us at Falzon Legal.

Incessantly supportive and understanding, we will provide you with significant reassurance — clearly and patiently outlining your options, best practice actions, and solutions to the challenges.

What Happens to Property, Cash, and Possessions in Divorce?

Applying to the Family Court for Divorce — and the subsequent acceptance and satisfaction by the Court and Respondent — only addresses the dissolution of the marriage.

It does not decide on property settlement — which includes bricks and mortar, investments, cash, and physical goods. And this can be as emotionally stressful as the Divorce itself.

During a marriage, a couple gathers numerous possessions together. Often, they hold immense personal and familial ties — for both partners. Allocating the assets after dissolution can cause conflict, heartbreak, and worry.

At Falzon Legal, our unwaveringly compassionate approach will guide you considerately through the whole process. Not just ensuring that any settlement proceeds in your best interests, but also seeking supportive and reassuring pathways that can minimise Court action.

Generally speaking, there are four possible routes:

  • Informal Agreement — a concord reached between you and your partner, based on trust, that agrees the allocation of assets.
  • Consent Orders — an amicable agreement made between you and your ex-spouse that is then validated by the Court.
  • Binding Financial Agreement — a formal contract, made before, during, or after your marriage, that outlines how property is divided in the event of Divorce.
  • Family Court Property Settlement — the FCFCA decides how the assets will be allocated, based on fairness and justness to both parties.

Keeping the matter away from the Family Court will save time, money, and possibly years of animosity. Let us guide and advise you towards a peaceful and reassuring conclusion.

What Is the Total Cost of Divorce in Australia?

Considering the significant time, finances, and emotions invested in a marriage over its duration — the actual cost of dissolving your relationship is surprisingly inexpensive.

With a negligibly-priced filing fee — that may even be reduced to little more than a few hundred dollars if you can show financial hardship — the process isn’t unaffordable.

But, the repercussions of separation, a lack of reliable legal advice, or fighting out Property Settlements in the Court can all be finance-breaking.

Extensive litigation — as you and your former spouse battle for ownership of homes, investment properties, cash, and physical assets — can be lengthy, upsetting, and seriously expensive.

That’s why at Falzon Legal — wherever possible and acceptable — we strive for amiable and peaceful resolutions, delivering welcome peace of mind and keeping costs to a minimum.

This may involve arbitration, Divorce Mediation, or simply genial negotiation. Whatever course of action is most suitable, you’re assured our unremitting diligence of always acting in your best interests — yet offering non-confrontational solutions and our continual support.

Is Divorce the Same as Separation?

Separation occurs, generally speaking, when one member of a marriage or de facto relationship decides to end the partnership — and expresses this wish to their current partner or spouse.

This is different to Divorce, which is the formal date of the dissolution of marriage.

In Family Law, the date of this separation is crucial, as it can affect how Property Settlements (in both de facto relationships and marriage) and Divorce applications proceed.

Assuming that no formal letter, social media message, or email indicates the intention to separate — the Court will agree upon the date. Some of the areas that the Court will consider as proof of the date of separation include:

  • Whether tasks were performed together or apart — such as cleaning.
  • If, or when, financial matters were separated.
  • Whether the two parties slept in the same bed or room after the stated separation date.
  • If either party informed a statutory body of separation — such as the ATO.
  • Whether intimate or romantic relations ended at the alleged date of separation.
  • If friends or relatives understood the relationship to be over.

Establishing and proving a separation date is crucial to both de facto relationships and couples. Falzon Legal will advise and explain how it will affect the end of your partnership — and recommend positive action to strengthen your position.

Falzon Legal — Parramatta’s Specialist Divorce Lawyers

Whether you’ve chosen to apply for a Divorce, or you receive notice that your spouse wishes to dissolve your marriage — breaking up is always emotionally challenging.

Working tirelessly on your behalf, offering positive and reassuring advice, and striving to achieve amicable outcomes that save stress, time, and expenses — you’re assured the pinnacle of support.

Consulting face-to-face at our Sydney office or in your home — wherever is the most comfortable or convenient — we will build a relationship of trust and clarity. Always efficient and consistently timely — we will exceed your highest expectations.

We cannot entirely remove the heartache — but we can ease the worry and fear. Together, we will navigate the difficult pathway to a satisfying and comfort-giving conclusion to Divorce.

How to Divorce FAQs

Are Assets Always Split 50/50 in a Divorce in Australia?

No. Unless you make this equal share agreement via a Consent Order or Binding Financial Agreement — the Court will decide how assets are allocated.

Their decision will be made on the basis of being fair and just — which doesn’t always mean fifty percent each.

Do You Have To Wait 12 Months for a Divorce Australia?

You must be separated from your spouse for a period of 12 months or longer before you can apply for Divorce.

Who Pays for Divorce in Australia?

In most circumstances, if you receive an Application for Divorce — you’re not responsible nor liable for fees. That said, if you wish to contest the Divorce request, you will need to pay a fee.

Can I Date While Separated Before Divorce Australia?

Ethically speaking, it may be wise, and respectful to who is still your spouse, to wait until your Divorce is finalised before entering into another relationship. That said, there are no legal repercussions on dating while separated.

How Long After Divorce Can You Remarry in Australia?

You can marry one month and one day after the Court has agreed your Divorce. Effectually, once you have the Decree Absolute, you can marry immediately.

Still Have Questions Concerning Divorce? Get in Touch With Us Today