When things don’t work out and all avenues have been exhausted, some couples may decide that separation and divorce are the best options for everyone involved. While these topics are by no means fun to talk about, they unfortunately are topics that require a great amount of thought and attention due to the life changing effects they can have for all involved. 

In today’s article, divorce lawyers give us information about everything you need to know about separation and divorce  in order to clear any confusion or doubts you may have. Read on to find out more.

Understanding Separation

Separation is a mandatory process that couples have to go through before a divorce can be finalised. Separation is something that many often misunderstand and get confused about due to its complex nature and how it applies to various types of relationships. As a general rule, separation is when you and your partner (whether it be a de-facto partner or spouse) stop living together in a domestic or marriage-like relationship. It is important to note that separation does ont have to be a mutual decision, and it is the onus of the person who chooses to separate to let the other party know of their intentions. 

Why Does Separation Date Matter?

In order to qualify for divorce, the courts will require you to prove that your relationship has ended for at least 12 months prior to applying for a divorce. This information is also important when applying for property orders as there are time limits that apply to various applications that you may choose to lodge. 

First Steps Of Separation

A good first step when you are looking to separate is to make sure you and your partner agree on practical matters such as:

  1. Who will stay in the current house and where the other person will have to live 
  2. Change of names on utility bills, debts, rental leases or mortgage
  3. Deciding what is to be done with shared bank accounts, if applicable
  4. If you have children, where they will reside and how they will be financially provided for 

Separation Under The One Roof

In some cases, living apart may be incredibly difficult or may prove detrimental to any children involved. In such a case, separation under the one roof is possible as long as each party provides an affidavit that contains the following information:

  1. Statements about no longer sleep in the same room
  2. Divided or separated assets and money
  3. Discontinuation of household duties and services to each other 
  4. Preparation and consumption of meals separately
  5. Discontinuation of social activities together
  6. Evidence to show that family and friends are aware of the separation 

The Divorce Process

As soon as you have been separated from your partner for a minimum of 12 months, you will be able to apply for an official divorce. If it has been less than 2 years from when you first got married (including at least 12 months of separation), you may be required to provide a counselling certificate to show that you explored options for reconciliation prior to applying for your divorce.

Once you have applied for your divorce, it is important that you ensure that your former partner is served with a copy of the application after it is filed in court. Failure to do this may lead to the court rejecting your divorce order. As soon as your application is filed, you will be provided with a hearing date for your divorce application to be heard by the Family Court. In most cases, you can expect to wait anywhere between 1-3 months from the time your application was filed. 

If no children are involved in the process, it is not necessary for you or your partner to attend court for a hearing. If there are children under 18 involved and you made a sole application for divorce, you will need to attend your divorce hearing. The court will require evidence that shows that you have solid arrangements in place for the children before granting you a divorce. This includes arrangements for education, financial support, housing and general parental duties.  

And there you have it — everything you need to know about the legal processes of divorce and separation. We hope that this article has given you some insight into the steps you need to take in order to apply for a divorce. We wish you all the best, and take care!