Divorce (Married Couples Only)
You need to be separated for at least one year and one day to get a divorce. Of course, you need to show the Court that you were validly married, and that the other party knows that you are making the application for divorce as well (note, it is possible for both the husband and wife to make an application jointly for a divorce – this type of application avoids the need for proof of formal notice to the other party (service)).
If you have children, you need to have reached some agreement about who your children live with, their education and medical care before the Court will grant you a divorce. You do not need a formal or written agreement or court orders – if you have a plan, and can express it to the court in the Application that is usually acceptable.
Divorce does not become final until 32 days after the date that the Court hears the application. If you have children under the age of 18 years, you usually have to appear before the Court when you seek your divorce (if you live in Far West NSW, you can ask to attend by telephone by writing to the Court and providing your telephone number to the Court). Otherwise, you don’t need to attend the Court at all. Your Divorce (called a Decree Absolute) is forwarded to you by mail.
We strongly recommend that if you are planning to marry another person once you are divorced, you should wait until you have received your Decree Absolute before planning your wedding. Sometimes, court processes do not run smoothly and take more time than you would expect them to.
It is an offence in Australia to be married to more than one person at the same time.
For more details, see Divorce – More Info.
Disclaimer: This information is a general guide to the law. It should not be relied on as legal advice. If you have a specific legal problem you should consult a lawyer.
It applies to people who live in, or are affected by, the law as it applies in NSW, Australia. The information contained in this publication is current at 1 January 2014.