How long does a Divorce Take


What’s the timeframe for Divorce in Australia? How long will it take to get my Divorce done?

Can I get my Divorce granted or pushed through any quicker? How soon after I file a Divorce Application in Court can I remarry?

Apart from the cost of divorce, these are some of the most common questions asked about Divorce.

Time frame for a Divorce to be Granted

A Divorce in Australia will take at least about 4 months to actually occur and be granted by the Court, from the date you first file your application for divorce in Court, until when a Divorce Order is issued by the Court, which will be one month and one day after the date of your divorce hearing, if your divorce is granted on the day of your divorce hearing.

It is likely that your Divorce will take longer than at least four months if you there are difficulties in having your spouse properly served with court sealed copies of the Divorce Application.

 



 

You should not arrange to remarry without making sure you have allowed enough time for your divorce to be finalised and until you have actually received the Divorce Order from the Court.

It is illegal to remarry before a Divorce Order is issued by the Court. If you do, then your remarriage will not be legal and you will have committed the offence of bigamy.

There is not any way you will be able to remarry in Australia (or most overseas countries) without actually having a court sealed copy of your Divorce Order (previously called Certificate of Divorce).

Joint Applications (applications made by both spouses together) will proceed quicker than a Sole Application (made by one spouse only), as Joint Applications do not need to be served since both people are signing the Application and so applying together.

Sole Applications will need to be served on the other spouse, so when giving a Divorce hearing date, the Court will automatically allow time for it to be served, whereas with a Joint Application, the court knows it does not have to be served so they may give it an earlier hearing date, if an earlier hearing date is available.

The other way you can make sure your divorce proceeds as quickly as possible, is to make sure that you carry out all of the procedural steps properly.

If you do not carry out a necessary step, the court will adjourn your hearing date to another date and so your Divorce Application will be delayed.

If you do not have confidence in carrying out all the steps properly or you need your Application for Divorce to be processed as quickly as possible, it might be better to have an experienced lawyer do your divorce for you, so that all steps are followed correctly and as quickly as possible.

Apart from filing a joint application and making sure you follow all of the necessary procedural steps properly, there is also not really any other way to have the Courts process your Application for Divorce any quicker.

How much does it cost to get a Divorce?

If you engage a lawyer to arrange your divorce for you, they will charge you a fee and so engaging a lawyer to act for you will make your divorce more expensive.

Different lawyers will charge different amounts for their services and so you should always obtain a quote before you give instructions to proceed.

Most law firms should be able to give a quote (or a minimum and maximum cost range) for doing a divorce over the phone.

You should obtain your own quote and not rely on the quote given to a friend or family member as quotes can vary depending on your personal circumstances and how much work will be involved.

You can make doing your divorce cheaper by doing it yourself. You can read more about how to do this in our information sheet giving the list of steps to do your divorce which also gives you links to the free court divorce do it yourself kits.

Even if you prepare your Divorce Application yourself, there is still an application fee payable to the Court.

You might be eligible to a reduced court application fee. You might be entitled to a reduced fee if you hold certain government concession cards, or if you can demonstrate financial hardship. You should note though, if your Application for Divorce is a joint one, then both of you as Joint Applicants must meet all of the requirements for an exemption/reduced fee, or the full fee will still apply.

The Divorce Application fee is payable to the Court at the beginning of your matter when you file your Application for Divorce in Court.

You be not be able to lodge your Application for Divorce in Court without paying the court application fee.

The Application for Divorce fee payable to the Court is currently $845.00 and the reduced fee if you are eligible for it is currently $280.00.

You can check if these are still the correct amounts or whether those fees have increased in the Family Law Courts fees brochure accessible here or here for Western Australia Applicants.

More information about the guidelines for fee exemption or reduction can be found on the Family Law Courts website here or here for Western Australia Applicants.

There is also a non-financial intangible cost of divorce.

For many couples, financial hardship will follow their relationship breakdown, separation and divorce.

Amongst other things, once a relationship has broken down, living standards often decline and disposable incomes drop.

This can also take an emotional toll on a person and cause significant stress, which can adversely impact the way you enjoy life and sometimes, also your ability to work.

Doctors and Counsellors can often assist a person dealing with the after effects of relationship breakdown, separation and divorce.

Divorce in Australia – more information

Make doing your divorce yourself easy and save the money you would pay a lawyer to do your Divorce. Use our information sheet providing A list of steps you need to take to get a Divorce which gives you an easy to follow procedure to do your divorce.

Be prepared for your Divorce Court Hearing. Read our information sheet What happens at the Divorce Hearing.

Don’t forget to deal with the important legal issues which if not dealt with, could adversely affect your children and family. Make sure you read the information sheet How does Divorce affects your Will, Superannuation, Life Insurance and family after death.

You can read information in our other information sheets on What you need to do to be able to apply for a Divorce including information about the requirements to apply, overseas marriages, separations under the same roof and how periods of reconciliation are treated.

If you have been married for less than two years the court has extra requirements you will need to know about and make sure you comply with to get a Divorce in Australia. These additional requirements are explained in our information sheet Divorce for Marriages under 2 years duration.

The Courts will not consider every issue you may be worried about when granting a divorce. The issues the Court looks at are fairly narrow and are detailed in our information sheet What things will a Court want to know to grant a Divorce.

 

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