Do you need a Separation Lawyer?
The breakdown of a relationship is one of the most stressful events that people will ever experience. The more information that you have, the better you will be able to manage the process. Our divorce lawyers in Melbourne and Balwyn will help you understand your legal rights and obligations, and explain the various legal processes available so you can make informed decisions that are in the best interests of you and your family.
The Family Law System
The Family Law system in Australia broadly sets out the process to assist separated couples resolve conflicts about many matters, primarily parenting and financial issues, as well as Divorces. The Family Law Act 1975 (the Act) is the legislation that deals with these matters.
If a Family Law dispute cannot be resolved by agreement out-of-court, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia presides over Family Law disputes.
Our role as your Melbourne divorce and separation lawyer is to clearly explain your options, your rights and responsibilities. Our aim is to help you achieve the most favourable and realistic outcomes using a variety of process options, without resorting to court proceedings, wherever possible.
What is Separation?
The breakdown of a relationship (marriage or de facto) has important emotional, legal and financial consequences. People usually need to make arrangements for the care of their children and divide any assets of the relationship between them. Often, other important issues arise such as the payment of child support and safety concerns. You can find out more about the issues flowing from separation under our “Areas of Practice” tab.
From a legal perspective, separation occurs when there is a communication by one party to the other about the breakdown of the relationship. Separation varies depending on the circumstances and the individuals involved. The communication of separation can be verbal, written and/or conveyed by behaviour.
People can separate under the same roof of their home, or physically separate by leaving the home.
Marriage & Divorce: Getting a Divorce in Melbourne, Australia
Divorce orders are granted by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. Our Melbourne divorce lawyers can help with your divorce application.
A Divorce Order brings about the legal end of a marriage.
Australia has a “no-fault” divorce system, with the only ground for divorce being an “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage. This breakdown is proven by at least 12 months of separation.
Despite having been separated, parties may choose to continue living under the same roof for some, or all of the 12 month period, for financial reasons, to provide continued care for children, or convenience. A Divorce Order may be granted in these circumstances, provided that there is evidence to support that the couple have separated under the same roof.
It is important to know that a divorce application does not determine or formalise arrangements for the care of children, the division of the assets of the relationship, spousal maintenance, or child support. These are different matters that need to be managed separately.
Once a Divorce Order has been granted, any necessary proceedings for property settlement Orders must be commenced within 12 months’ from the date of the Divorce Order. If after this time, leave (permission) needs to be granted by the Court for these proceedings to be commenced. Read more about financial/property settlements, parenting matters and child support under our “Areas of Practice” tab.
I was married overseas, can I apply for a divorce in Melbourne, Australia?
To be eligible to apply for divorce, you do not need to have been married in Australia. However, you need to have sufficient connection to Australia for the Court to exercise its jurisdiction. This connection can be proved if:
- One spouse was born in Australia or is an Australian citizen by descent; or
- One spouse is an Australian citizen through a grant of Australian citizenship; or
- One spouse has been lawfully present in the country for the last 12 months before the divorce application is made, and intends to continue residing in Australia.
How do I lodge a Divorce Application?
Divorce Applications are filed online using the Commonwealth Courts Portal. You can apply for a divorce by yourself (a sole application) or together with your former spouse (a joint application). Please contact us for more information.
De Facto Relationships
Following the breakdown of a relationship, the Act applies equally to de facto and married couples. In some cases, you may need to prove that you were in a de facto relationship, and our lawyers will help with this. A number of factors will be considered to determine whether an unmarried couple were in a de facto relationship, for example, the length and nature of the relationship, financial dependence or interdependence, and/or the care and support of children.
Your Process Options & Alternate Dispute Resolution
Our lawyers will assist you with choosing the best process option for you and your family regarding your Family Law matter (parenting and/or property settlement).
We offer a range of Alternate Dispute Resolution pathways to assist you and your former partner in reaching agreements. Options include negotiations between lawyers, Mediations, and Collaborative Law. We also offer Parenting Coordination as a unique dispute resolution method for parents after Final Orders are made.
Once you and your former partner reach an agreement, we will help you make your agreement binding and enforceable.
If Alternate Dispute Resolution is inappropriate in your situation, or if you do not reach an agreement, our lawyers are strong and strategic advocates for you in Court proceedings.
Collaborative Law/Collaborative Practice
Our Collaborative Lawyers will help you resolve a range of Family Law and associated issues in a non-adversarial environment. Collaborative Law is an Alternative Dispute Resolution process designed to assist separated couples reach agreements in a range of matters (including property settlement and parenting matters). The professional, multidisciplinary team includes lawyers, financial planners, and psychologists (including child psychologists). It is a process in which the parties agree to refrain from issuing court proceedings.
We offer Parenting Coordination as a Alternative Dispute Resolution method for parents who are struggling to implement Court Orders in everyday life. Parenting Coordinators are usually appointed by a Court, but can also be jointly appointed by agreement between separated parents. The goal of Parenting Coordination is to assist parents to consider the children’s best interests when implementing Court Orders, whilst building a workable co-parenting or parallel parenting relationship where possible.
Our divorce lawyers in Melbourne and Balwyn will help you navigate the legal process of separation and divorce so you can reach workable solutions for the many issues that may arise. If you need assistance, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03 9857 0099.