Separation is when you and your partner stop living together in a domestic or marriage-like relationship.
When you decide the relationship is over, you do not need to get your partner’s approval for the separation. You simply have to ensure that he or she knows that the relationship has officially ended.
Separation and divorce create a challenging time for families, especially for children. Following the breakdown of your marriage or de-facto relationship, you and your former partner may need to quickly reach agreements on some practical issues for your family, including:-
• Who the children will live with.
• How much time the children spend with each parent.
• What arrangements will be made for financial support of the children.
• Property and assets division.
These decisions are essential and it is important that you seek independent family law legal advice either before you separate, or as soon as practicable after you separate. This is important to ensure that you are fully informed about what is required when making these important decisions.
When you apply for a divorce in Australia, there is no need to consider the causes of the marriage breakdown. The only requirement is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. This requirement is normally proven when you and your estranged partner are separated and have been living ‘separate and apart’ for at least 12 months.
After the period of 12 months, you may apply under the Family Law Act for a divorce.
If you had a ‘short marriage’ where you have been married for a period of less than two years, you will be required to obtain a counseling certificate when applying to the Court for a divorce. However, there are some ‘special circumstances’ which provide an exception to this requirement.
Before granting a divorce, the Court must be satisfied that you have made appropriate arrangements for your children’s living and care arrangements.
Once the courts grant your divorce, this will constitute the legal end of your marriage. However, your divorce will not settle issues such as the parenting arrangements for your children, child support, and the division of the property of your marriage or spousal maintenance. These issues are dealt with separately.