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International Child Custody
Country-by-Country Information About Child Abduction and Divorce
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Australia Divorce


The only grounds for divorce in Australia is irretrievable breakdown of marriage. This is shown by separation for a period of 12 months with no prospect of reconciliation. The 12 month separation period must be continuous OR a total period of 12 months apart, broken only by one period of reconciliation of less than three months.


An application for divorce is filed in the Family court by either or both parties to the marriage. It is only necessary for one of the parties to want the divorce.

It can relate to a marriage which occurred in Australia or outside Australia provided that either the husband or wife:
-is an Australian citizen, or is domiciled in Australia, or
-has been resident in Australia for one year.

The application must be filed after the 12 month period of separation has expired and is normally heard about two months after the date of the filing.

A person wishing to obtain a divorce:
-can obtain a "do-it-yourself" kit from the Family Court of Australia, or use a private solicitor to act on their behalf, or
-if in the Brisbane area, apply through the Legal Aid Community Divorce Scheme, or in limited circumstances, apply to Legal Aid Queensland for assistance.

When the court grants a divorce it must be satisfied that proper arrangements have been made for the welfare of the children. If there are children, one of the parents must attend court for the divorce.

Where there are no children under 18, then the parties can request not to attend on their application. However, it is usually wise for the applicant to attend.

The court, if it approves the application for divorce, issues a decree nisi at the hearing and the divorce becomes final one month later and the court sends a decree absolute in the mail. A person can not apply to remarry until they have the decree absolute.


More Information on Australian Family Law:
Sec. 111B: Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction  continue

The only ground for divorce in Australia is   continue

On July 1, 2006, Australia's Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act 2006 came into force.  continue

There seems to be a rash of child abductions out of Australia -- although perhaps this is simply because many Australian cases are coming my way. My theory is  continue

Pre‑nuptial agreements, known as "binding financial agreements," became enforceable in Australia   continue

International Social Services published a report in February 2005 on international parental child abduction  continue

Australia's new Family Law Amendment emphasizes  continue

The legal notion that sports stars, artists and professionals with exceptional talent deserve better than a 50-50 split in divorce settlements   continue

In an important ruling the Full Court of the   continue

Women embarking on a first marriage and planning to have children should not enter into a prenuptial  continue

Excerpts from an article published in the   continue

This editorial in Australia’s Courier-Mail criticizes the provisions in Australia’s recently-amended Family Law Act that call for equal shared parenting orders. The article is totally on target. However   continue

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