How long does it take to get a divorce in Australia?

A divorce can be a very stressful process. If both parties disagree, this can extend the process and cause additional headache. Get your application in order with professional help from O’Sullivan Legal.

It is important to be mindful of the application start date when initiating a divorce. While you might be tempted to file for divorce as soon as possible, property and asset division is related to the initial date of the marriage separation provided on official documentation.

In Australia, a divorce takes about four months before it is officially granted by the court. This time is calculated using the date you first filed your application in court until the date when a divorce order is issued by the court.

Whenever a party disagrees with the divorce, in other words, a contested divorce arises, the timeframe increases. Additionally, any involvement with children increases the complexity. In all cases, appropriate arrangements with suitable provisions for children needs to be made before finalising a divorce. To ensure your divorce is processed swiftly, you need correctly complete paperwork. If done incorrectly, the court will delay your divorce application.

Avoiding bigamy – be careful when remarrying soon after divorce

You need to be careful when remarrying to ensure you have allowed enough time for your divorce to be finalised and wait until your divorce is confirmed in court. This is because, in Australia, it is illegal to remarry before a divorce order is issued by the court. If you do so, then your remarriage is not legal, and you will have committed bigamy, a criminal offence.
Bigamy is entering into a marriage with a person while still being married to another person. The Marriage Act of 1961 prohibits this. Bigamy is a criminal offence nationwide in all Australian states and territories. Common law also dissolves and annuls a marriage not only via divorce, but with death too.

Most recently on December 7, 2017, the original act was slightly amended to redefine marriage in Australia as ‘the union of 2 people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.’ Conditions and requirements for a valid marriage have not changed. Other updates included promoting marriage equality without the need to determine sex or gender.

New marriage forms are now used in line with the recent changes. Older forms can still be used so long as the couple conforms to the old marriage standard, so that the old certificate remains valid. With the new amendment, also comes a change to wedding vows to reflect the new definition of marriage.

In order to be legally married in Australia, a person must:

  • not be married to another person
  • not be marrying a close relative (parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister)
  • be 18 years old or older, unless they are between 16 and 18 years of age with court approval
  • understand what marriage means and freely consent to marrying
  • use specific words, such as wedding vows during the ceremony
  • give written notice of their intention to marry to and authorised officiator

How much does it cost to get a divorce?

Cost and prices can vary widely. Different lawyers will charge different amounts, so you should always obtain a quote before continuing with any services. You can also reduce the price by doing it yourself. However, an application fee still needs to be paid and you are unlikely to place yourself in a better position without qualified assistance. When in doubt, always seek a professional as it may cost you. As with most divorces, financial hardship often follows. Significant emotional stress can also negatively impact your lifestyle and ability to work. Leaving the burden to experts will relieve this strain.

What not to do during a divorce

As with almost everything in life, there are important mistakes that you should avoid. Failure to make smart informed decisions will increase the time spent on the divorce. Do not start immediately telling everyone you are getting a divorce. This only increases the chance friends or close family will be in the middle of sticky situations. Additionally, as warm and well hearted your colleagues’ intentions may be, do not take divorce advice from family and friends. Leave the consultation to professionals. Contact Sydney’s leading family law expects at O’Sullivan Legal today!