Close this search box.
(07) 3231 2444
Close this search box.
26 April 2022

All about divorce

In this video, CGW family lawyer Tiana Harris talks us through all things divorce.

In this video, CGW family lawyer Tiana Harris talks us through all things divorce.


Hi. I’m Tiana, and I’m a lawyer in the Family Law Team here at Cooper Grace Ward. Today I’m going to be talking about all things divorce.

What is a fault based divorce system?

Firstly, to start off with, in Australia, we have a no fault divorce system. Prior to the Family Law Act in 1975, we actually had a fault based system where there were about ten grounds you had to prove, such as habitual drunkenness, insanity or adultery. This meant that a spouse would hire a private investigator and the private investigator would follow the other spouse around and try to catch them in any sort of wrongdoing. So, when the Family Law Act came into force in 1975, it really encouraged both spouse parties to engage in alternative dispute resolution and sort of got rid of the hostility surrounding divorce.

What are grounds for divorce in Australia?

So, now in Australia, the only ground of divorce you have to prove is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and there’s no reasonable likelihood of reconciliation. And to establish this ground you have to show that you have been separated for 12 months, and separation can be physical, that you’ve moved out of one property or you can even be separated under the one roof.

How do I file for divorce?

So, in terms of filing documents for your divorce, you can apply with your partner jointly, which means that you share equally in the filing fee and it usually means that you don’t have to attend the divorce hearing even if you have children under 18. If you want to file a sole application for divorce, you can certainly do so. This means that you will be responsible for the filing fee in full, which at the moment is about $940. And if you have children under the age of 18, you will need to attend the divorce hearing.

So, once you’ve been to the court hearing or the divorce has been heard in absence, if it was a joint application you will receive a divorce order one month and one day from the hearing date. This means that the marriage has been dissolved and it really starts a time limit that you have 12 months from that date to sort out your property settlement and spousal maintenance matters by either commencing proceedings in court or finalising those matters by way of consent orders or a financial agreement. If you don’t finalise these matters within the 12 months time limit period, you will need to seek the consent of your partner or you will need to seek leave of the court to commence proceedings.

What should I do next?

Should you have any questions about what I’ve just talked about in relation to divorce, please do not hesitate to contact me or one of the other lawyers in the Family Law Team.

Like this article? Share it via:

This publication is for information only and is not legal advice. You should obtain advice that is specific to your circumstances and not rely on this publication as legal advice. If there are any issues you would like us to advise you on arising from this publication, please let us know.

Stay up to date with CGW

Subscribe to our interest lists to receive legal alerts, articles, event invitations and offers.

Key contacts

Justine Woods
Leeann Murphy
Special Counsel
Craig Turvey
Special Counsel

Areas of expertise

Read next