How Do I Start The Divorce Process?

Many people wonder how to start the divorce process when they have just separated from their partner. Involving family lawyers/separation solicitors/divorce attorneys can seem daunting and its not unusual to worry about how much it costs to get divorced. While sometimes the process can be difficult, expensive and lengthy, it can also resolve amicably without having to spend a fortune.

1. Think about financial and child custody arrangements
Before you even start wondering how to start the divorce process, you need to think about the financial and child custody arrangements going forward. This is can be the source of much conflict in separating couples so keeping things amicable here will make it much easier in the long run. Sometimes that is just not possible, so you need to make sure that you put yourself in the best position.

See our FAQs, What Should I Do Before I Separate?, for more information on how to set youself up before you start the divorce process.

2. Wait for 1 year
You cannot apply for divorce until you have been separated for one year. During this time, it is important that you start separating your finances and making arrangements for the children. You do not need to wait one year to sort out your property settlement or child custody arrangements. While you do not have to have all these arrangements in place before applying for divorce, it is best to be on top of making these arrangements. You can usually speak with separation solicitors for a free consultation if you want to just get some quick assistance on how you can do this yourself.

3. Download the divorce kit
The Family Court Australia is the correct jurisdiction to start the divorce process. If you want to prepare the divorce for yourself, you need to download the DIY Divorce kit from the court website (see this link) and follow the instructions. If the other party is prepared to sign the application, that makes everything much easier so try to do a joint application before you consider a sole application.

Check out our FAQs, How To Start Divorce Proceedings, for more information on the process.

4. Don't forget about the time limit
Once you have gotten a divorce, there is a strict 12 month time limit in place to make an application for financial settlement. This is why we suggest that you get started on sorting out your property division immediately because it can take some time. There is no time limit on parenting arrangements although it is obviously best if that is finalised soon rather than later also.

While how to start divorce process can be quite simple, everything that comes along with that like making financial and parenting arrangements can be hard work. We are family lawyers on the Gold Coast that offer a free initial consultation to get you started and make sure that you are protecting your, and your family's, interests.

This information does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with a lawyer to obtain independent legal advice relevant to your situation.

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