How to get a divorce in Victoria
To apply for divorce in Australia, you need to have been separated for at least one year. However, you do not need to provide a reason for getting divorced other than that your marriage has broken down irretrievably.
What do I need to apply for divorce?
You will need your marriage certificate and identification.
If you and your partner have not been living separate and apart for a continuous period of 12 months, you will be required to file additional documents in court to provide evidence that you are separated.
What if the other party doesn’t agree?
You do not need your former partner’s agreement to start the divorce process. You can apply for a divorce together (joint application) or on your own behalf (sole application). If you apply on your own, it will be necessary for a third party to serve the divorce papers on your former partner after they are filed in Court. This will inform them of your intention to divorce, will allow them to file a Response if they do not agree with the facts in your Application and let them know of the date of the court hearing.
The court will grant the divorce provided it is satisfied that you are married, that your marriage has broken down irretrievably, you have been separated for at least 12 months, and you have made proper arrangements for the care and welfare of any children.
What about the children?
There is no legal requirement to have a formal agreement in place about the care of children when applying for a divorce. However, the Court must be satisfied that appropriate parenting arrangements are in place before granting a divorce order.
What about property?
Divorce is a completely separate process to the finalisation of property and financial matters between you and your partner.
You should begin negotiations to reach agreement about property as soon as you separate. You do not need an agreement about finances and property to apply for a divorce. However, it is important to note that once a divorce order is made there is a 12-month time limit within which to commence litigation in relation to property and finances. You can find more information about property and financial matters here.
How long does the divorce process take?
When you file your divorce application the court will be allocated a date for the hearing within 10 weeks of filing. You may need to attend the hearing, depending on your individual circumstances. The divorce order once granted becomes final one month and one day from the date of the hearing.