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Getting a divorce

The Family Law Act 1975 established the principle of no-fault divorce in Australian law. This means that a court does not consider why the marriage ended.

The only ground for divorce is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. To satisfy the Court that a marriage has broken down irretrievably, you must have been separated for at least 12 months and one day.  If there are children aged under 18, a court can only grant a divorce if it is satisfied that proper arrangements have been made for them.

Separated under one roof

If you have been separated for 12 months but living under the same roof, you will need to provide extra information to the court.  This information will be in the form of an affidavit that addresses a range of issues, to the court’s satisfaction.  These issues include changes in sleeping arrangements, reductions in shared activities or family outings, division of finances and decline in performing household duties for each other.

When does a divorce become final?

The entire divorce process takes a minimum of approximately 15 months. You need to stay separated for 12 months, then make an application and wait for a court date.

The process of asset division and agreeing on arrangements for your children can be much easier if you and your spouse are on amicable terms. If that is the case, you should be able to have everything arranged with consent orders in place in 2-4 weeks (depending on the court’s turnaround time for applications for consent orders at the time).

If however you are not on speaking terms or there is a big difference between what each of your want out of the separation, then getting to a final hearing will depend on the court and how busy they are. In general, this takes a minimum of 6 months and more than likely a lot longer (the average is 2.5 years), unless you come to an agreement with your ex spouse in the meantime.


In most cases, after the divorce hearing, it will take one month and one day to become officially divorced. After this period has elapsed you can get married. However, keep in mind that divorce proceedings can take a lot longer than you might anticipate so it is better to wait for the final decision before applying for a marriage license. In order to re-marry you must apply for a Notice of Intended Marriage at least one month before the wedding date, and comply with other requirements of the Marriage Act 1961.

This is general information only, and does not constitute specific legal advice. If you would like further information in relation to this matter or other legal matters please contact our Family Law office on Freecall 1800 609 945 or email us now.