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If you have been married for less than 2 years, then before you can apply for a divorce in Australia, you must firstly attend counselling with your former partner to discuss the possibility of reconciliation.
The two year period runs from the date you got married until the date you file your Divorce Application.
If you cannot attend counselling with your former spouse then you will need to file an Affidavit stating the reasons why counselling cannot take place.
You must make sure the counsellor you choose to see is approved to be able to issue you with the attendance at counselling certificate required by the Court.
The court will require that Certificate before it will grant you a divorce.
If you do not already have a counsellor who can issue the certificate to you, then you can find a counsellor either by:
You need to attach the completed certificate to the back of your Application for Divorce form when you file the Divorce Application in Court.
If you wait for 2 years to have elapsed between the date you got married and the date you lodge your application for divorce in the Family Court, it can be a much simpler process.
The 2 year time frame runs from the date you married until the date you file your Application for Divorce in the Family Court.
The two year time frame can include the time you have been separated.
For example, if you were married for 13 months and then you separated and have been separated for more than 11 months, then two years have elapsed from when you married, meaning you will not have to undergo counselling before you lodge your Application for Divorce in the Family Court.
For this reason many couples wait for 2 years from the date they got married to go by, before they file their Divorce Application.
The requirement to attend counselling will apply to a marriage which has lasted less than 2 years (including the separation period) unless you seek the permission of the Court to apply for a divorce.
It can be difficult to obtain the permission of the Court, so many couples choose to wait for the 2 year period to be up before they file their Divorce Application in the Family Court.
If you want to file your Divorce Application in Court less than 2 years from the date you got married and seek the permission of the court to apply for a divorce, then you seek that permission by filing an Affidavit with your Divorce Application.
In your Affidavit you should explain:
You can find out how to prepare an Affidavit in our separate fact sheet in the Courts - How to Self Represent Section.
There is a lot to do, arrange and deal with when you have separated and are going through a Divorce. It can be easy to miss doing some really important legal issues that could affect your children or family forever. You should also read the fact sheet How does Divorce affect your Will and family after death to know how a divorce will affect your family after your divorce, your Will, your Superannuation and your Life Insurance.
Information about the requirements to Apply for a Divorce in Australia, what you need to do if you got married overseas or have spent any time living separated under the same roof and how periods of reconciliation are treated is explained in our fact sheet on What you need to do to be able to apply for a Divorce.
The issues the Court considers at the Divorce Hearing are narrow. There are a lot of issues you may be concerned about (like child support, dividing your property, spousal maintenance, parenting arrangements etc) that a Court will not be concerned with. The issues a Court will look at when dealing with your Divorce Application are explained in our fact sheet What things will a Court want to know to grant a Divorce.
Obtain some confidence about how easy it might be to do your Divorce yourself and avoid legal costs by reading our fact sheet A list of steps you need to take to get a Divorce, which will give you an easy to understand and easy to follow step by step procedure to do your own divorce.
Especially if you are in a new relationship you may want to know how long it will take for you to get a Divorce. You will also need to know what it will cost to get a Divorce. Get the answers in the fact sheet How much will a Divorce cost and how long does it take.
Be prepared for what will happen in Court on the day of your Divorce hearing by reading our fact sheet What happens at the Divorce Hearing.
Michelle Beatty, Senior Lawyer
Other Questions answered in the Divorce Section
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