It is a simple fact of modern-day life that couples get divorced, which is why Family Lawyers are never in danger of being bored through lack of work. Whilst it is possible to proceed with a divorce on your own and without legal representation, but it is not advised.
As with most other countries, there are a number of legal rules and relations relating to divorce in Australia, which if you get wrong, can mean your divorce is delayed, or worse, refused.
The main legislation that applies to divorce in Australia is the 1975 Family Law Act, and rather than ploughing through it and trying to understand what sections and paragraphs apply to your situation, you are best to seek legal advice or representation.
One of the first things to establish with your lawyers, is whether or not you are eligible to apply for divorce. An application for divorce can be made solely or jointly and eligibility and what documents who need to produce can differ depending on your residential status.
In all cases, you must be resident in Australia, and be able to show that you consider it your permanent home. If you are an Australian national, you must be able to produce a valid birth certificate.
If resident, but not Australian, you must produce a valid visa, or passport showing that you lived in Australia for a minimum of 12 months prior to the date you are filing for divorce.
Note, that if your marriage took place in a different country, but you are both resident in Australia you can get divorced, although you must produce the marriage certificate, and a translation, if the marriage certificate is written in a language other than English.
In terms of timing, you normally cannot file for divorce if you have been married less than 2 years. If this is the case, you may ask the Family Court for special permission by submitting a Counselling Certificate.
The process here is you and your spouse must attend counselling where your marriage and subjects like reconciliation will be discussed. After the sessions are complete the counsellor will complete the counselling certificate, and you, and your spouse need to complete an affidavit, which is presented to the court.
For marriages that are longer than 12 months, you and your spouse must be separated for 12 months before a divorce application can be submitted.
Although there may be many reasons for you wanting a divorce, the law states there is only one, and that is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. In effect, this means that neither party is seen to be fault or to blame for the divorce, as would be the case if adultery were stated as the grounds, for example.
Your spouse can oppose the divorce, but only on the grounds that all of the legal criteria have not been met. This means they cannot object simply because they do not agree with the financial settlement, for example.
Whether you have to attend the court for the divorce hearing will depend mainly on whether you are applying solely for the divorce, and if their children in the marriage.
If your divorce application is valid, it normally takes around four months for it to be granted, and then it becomes final one month and one day after that. It is only after your divorce has become final, that you become free to remarry.