No one would deny the fact that divorce is a difficult and distressing experience for all parties involved.
It may cause severe psychological, emotional, and financial turmoil to all parties involved, especially the children.
So, it is very important to draft your case carefully not to prolong the process unnecessarily and waste time and money. Referring divorce lawyers in Sydney speeds up the process.
What are the Eligibility Criteria for Divorce in Sydney?
Australian citizens, permanent residents, and individuals who have lived in Australia for at least 12 months immediately before filing a divorce may be eligible.
How Long Does a Divorce Take in Sydney?
The divorce process starts with the filing of the application by either party.
The time frame for this process will depend on many factors, such as whether any issues need to be settled before filing begins (such as parenting matters), what is the issue that you’re seeking to get resolved through your divorce, etc.
These may include any children involved under 18 years old, what issues need to be resolved before filing begins, if your spouse contests the application or not, etc.
If there are disputes, it may take at least 12 – 18 months to get the divorce granted.
Once the application is filed, the other party will have four weeks to file a response.
If there are no issues that need to be resolved through your divorce, then you would expect a final hearing within 12 – 18 months from the time of filing if there are no disputes.
Do you Have to Wait for Two Years to Get a Divorce?
It is still possible to get a divorce in Sydney if you are married for less than 24 months. However, you are required to attend counseling and attach a counseling certificate along with a divorce application.
In case you are unable to attend the counseling along with your spouse, you are required to file an affidavit stating the reasons for not attending the counseling.
For example, if you have a history of domestic violence, you can file an affidavit stating why it is unsafe for you to attend counseling along with your abusive spouse.
What can I do to Get it Finalized in Less Time?
As already stated, the negotiation period between the parties will depend on many factors, including whether any outstanding issues have not been resolved.
Generally speaking, those cases which tend to take longer are those where full financial disclosure is required, and a property settlement needs to be finalized before the divorce can be granted.
If you do not require a property settlement or resolve any outstanding issues, the divorce may be finalized within a few months.
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What if One of the Spouses Does Not Want to Divorce?
You can still file for divorce if your spouse does not want to get divorced.
There are many reasons why one party may oppose the application for divorce, including that they are opposed to the terms of settlement or wish to defend some allegation made by you in your application.
If you do not agree on any issue with your spouse during the negotiation period, you can file for divorce on that basis alone.
You will need to prove that there has been no cohabitation between the two of you for at least 12 months before filing your application.
What are the Grounds for Divorce in Sydney?
1. No-Fault Divorce
You can apply for a ‘no-fault divorce based on one party living in Australia for at least 12 months before filing. In this type of divorce, both parties agree that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.
2. Fault Divorce
In a ‘fault’ divorce, you need to prove that your spouse’s conduct is such that it would be in the best interests of both spouses for a divorce order to be made in your favor. It would require the filing of evidence (affidavits) in support of your application.
3. Contested Divorce
If your spouse contests the divorce, it will be necessary to prove to the Court that there has been a breakdown of the marriage for a divorce order to be made.
It may involve cross-examining your spouse. Both parties don’t need to attend the hearing, but they will need to be available to provide evidence if required by the Court.
4. Application on the Grounds of Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage
You can apply for an ‘irretrievable breakdown’ divorce on the basis that you have been separated for at least twelve months and there are no chances of resuming married life. There are two types of irretrievable breakdown divorces.
These are the ‘separation’ divorce and the ‘no-fault’ divorce.
A separation can be based on either of you living separately for at least 12 months (with some limited exceptions) this is known as a “12-month separation” divorce, or you have been living apart for less than 12 months, AND there is no reasonable likelihood of resuming married life (with some limited exceptions).
The time you must have been separated to be eligible for a ‘no-fault’ divorce is different from one state to another.
In NSW, you can file for a ‘no-fault’ divorce either after 12 months of separation; or after two years of separation if there is no reasonable likelihood of resuming married life.
If you have children under 18 years old, you will need to attend family dispute resolution before filing your application after applying for a ‘no-fault’ or ’12-month separation’ divorce.
There are exceptions to this requirement where one spouse makes allegations of abuse or violence against the other.
If you want to file for divorce, you must seek legal advice from a family lawyer who can guide you through the process and explain your options.
It is also advisable to take independent legal advice about how to proceed if your spouse contests or disputes your application so that you know what steps to take next.