A period of separation of at least twelve months is required before a divorce order can be applied for. In Australia there is no requirement of fault to obtain a divorce. The date of separation is the date that a spouse decides that the marriage is over and communicates that decision to the other spouse. Spouses do not necessarily have to be physically separated for it to constitute separation. Spouses can live in the same house and still be separated.
A Divorce Order will be made provided the court is satisfied that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage as evidenced by 12 months of separation and proper arrangements have been made for any child or children of the marriage under the age of 18 years. A spouse will be able to remarry after a month of the Court making a Divorce Order.
A Divorce, once granted by the Court, ends the existence of the marriage. A divorce alone does not resolve a property settlement, any financial arrangements between spouses nor does it resolve arrangements for children.
You can finalise a property settlement and maintenance issues at any time after separation by way of a Financial Agreement or Court Order. Court proceedings for a property settlement or spousal maintenance issues must be commenced within 12 months of the Divorce Order taking effect if those issues have not been finalised in the meantime.