Information on Family Legal Matters

What does it mean to get divorced?

Learn how to tell if you are in a de facto relationship in Queensland and how this can impact your property settlement or separation process.

When your marriage comes to an end, someone may suggest that you see a lawyer to get a divorce.
A divorce is the legal end of your marriage by a Court.

To apply for a divorce:

  • You must be separated for at least 12 months.
  • You do not have to show or prove any fault that caused the marriage to end.

Separation occurs on the day a spouse communicates to the other spouse that they have decided to end the marriage. The other spouse does not need to agree. In the required 12-month period of separation, it is possible to be separated but still living together under the one roof. If this applies, the Court will need proof that the spouses were separated during the 12-month period.

The divorce process begins by a formal Application for Divorce being filed in the Court. The Application can be filed by one spouse alone or jointly.

If there are children of the marriage under the age of 18 years, the Application will have to show that proper arrangements have been made for them. You do not need a parenting order or parenting plan to do so.

When the divorce application is determined by the Court, provided all the requirements have been met, the Court will grant what is called a Divorce Order. The Order takes effect or becomes final one month and one day later. Nothing has be done in that period. Once the Divorce Order takes effect, the official Divorce Order is issued to you by the Court.

When you separate, applying for a divorce is the last thing you need to think about.

The Divorce application is separate to any of the other more important matters of dividing the:

  • assets of the marriage
  • spousal maintenance
  • arrangements for your children.

Importantly, you do not need to be divorced to begin negotiating or commence court proceedings for property settlement orders, spouse maintenance orders, or parenting orders.

It is important to remember that proceedings for property settlement and spousal maintenance must be commenced within 12 months of your divorce order taking effect. Otherwise, you need the permission of the Court to do so and such permission is only granted in limited circumstances.

In most cases, spouses generally resolve issues of a property settlement or spousal maintenance by agreement or with the assistance of a mediator. The agreement is then formalised with the appropriate court documentation prior to the time limit without the need to begin formal court proceedings.

It is important that any agreement for property settlement or spousal maintenance are correctly formalised by the correct documents to ensure that the agreement is legally binding can be enforced if need be and prevents your spouse making further claim on the same matters in the future.

If you are contemplating separation or have separated, it is important to obtain advice as soon as possible.

If you wish to discuss the best way to navigate your separation and divorce then please contact our Brisbane Divorce Lawyer