GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE IN AUSTRALIA
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.