When can I get a divorce?

This is one of the first questions I get asked by my clients.

To get a divorce – or to ‘un-marry’ a person in Australia you need to have been separated for 12 months.

If you get back with your ex for longer than 3 months during the year of separation then the timer resets and you have to start the 12 months separation again before you can apply for a divorce.

You can also be separated under the one roof.

The first day you can file a divorce application with the court is a year and a day after your separation. For example, you separated on 2 April 2018. The first day you can file a divorce application before the court will be on or after 3 April 2019.

It is important to remember, a couple who have separated do not need to wait a whole year to sort out a parenting and property settlement.

Parenting and property issues can be sorted and settled any time after separation without the need to wait for a divorce order to go through.

In fact, I strongly recommend that all parenting and property disputes be resolved before an application for divorce is made.

This is because from the day a divorce order is made by the court, the clock starts ticking and the court allows the divorced couple 12 months only to bring an application before the court. After that, any application filed will be out of time and may not be even filed with the court.

By Nadia Messiha