Getting divorced in South Australia – your questions answered
Johnston Withers Lawyers explain how the process works and answer some common questions.
This sponsored post is brought to you by Johnston Withers Lawyers.
The laws around divorce and family law can be a bit of a mystery.
Johnston Withers’ divorce lawyers have prepared some common important divorce questions to help you navigate getting divorced in South Australia.
It can be hard to know what questions to ask a divorce lawyer, especially early on.
This article addresses some frequently asked important divorce questions that Johnston Withers commonly receive, but if you have any questions about how to divorce in South Australia that aren’t answered here, call for a free first half hour interview.
When it comes to family law, experience matters and Johnston Withers Lawyers are here to help.
Can you get divorced straight away?
Lawyers are often asked, “Do I need to be separated before I can divorce?”
If you’re getting divorced in South Australia, you must be separated for at least 12 months before you can apply for a divorce.
If you’ve been married for less than two years, you may also have to attend marriage counselling before you can apply for divorce.
How long do you have to be separated before a divorce?
If you’re getting divorced in South Australia, you must be separated for at least 12 months before you can file an application for divorce.
How long does it take to get a divorce in South Australia?
Once you file your application for divorce, it usually takes another three months until the final divorce order is made.
If there are any difficulties with locating your spouse, the process could take longer.
If you think that you’ll have problems locating your spouse, it’s a good idea to speak with Johnston Withers’ caring and experienced team, who may be able to help you minimise the delays.
Can de facto couples get a divorce in South Australia?
Only legally married couples can obtain a divorce.
People in a de facto relationship cannot go through the divorce process in South Australia.
How do I separate from my partner?
Separation happens when you and your spouse or partner stop living together as a couple.
This is the same for married and de facto couples.
Either of you can make the decision to separate – it doesn’t need to be a joint decision.
Once you’ve separated, you might want to inform agencies such as Centrelink and the Child Support Agency, particularly if you have children, as you may be entitled to new or different financial payments as a single person.
Johnston Withers’ family lawyers can give you advice about these processes.
Do I have to move out during a separation?
Often, one person will tell the other of their decision, and one of you might decide to move out of the family home.
Sometimes it’s simply not practical to move out due to financial restraints and you might keep living together in the same house.
That is viewed as being “separated under the same roof”.
No longer living as a couple can be evidenced by:
Having separate finances
No longer sharing a bedroom
No longer attending family events together
Cooking and eating separately
I don’t want a divorce – do we both have to agree to get a divorce?
The divorce process in South Australia allows either one of you to apply for a divorce once you’ve been separated for 12 months.
You don’t have to agree to make that application together.
However, you can oppose the application if you don’t agree that you’ve been separated for 12 months.
Do I have to get divorced?
You can choose to remain legally married, even though you’ve separated from your spouse.
Of course, your former spouse might make the application for divorce instead.
If you want to remarry, you will need to be divorced – but it is possible to enter into a de facto relationship if you’re separated from your former spouse but not yet divorced.
However, once you’ve separated there are other issues that you need to think about, such as updating your will, or making one if you haven’t done so before.
You should speak to Johnston Withers’ family law team about the wider implications of your separation, regardless of whether you were married or in a de facto relationship.
If I got married overseas, can I still get a divorce in Australia?
This is a very common enquiry, but as long as you meet the divorce requirements in Australia – you are either an Australian citizen, or are living in Australia permanently, or have done so for at least 12 months – you can make an application for divorce.
You’ll need a copy of your marriage certificate to include with your application for divorce.
If that certificate isn’t in English, it will have to be translated for the court.
Do I have to go to court?
If you have children aged under 18 years and you’ve made the application for divorce individually, then you or your lawyers will have to attend court for the divorce hearing.
The court will need to be satisfied that proper arrangements are in place for the children and may want to ask questions about those arrangements.
Your divorce lawyer can talk on your behalf.
If you make the application jointly with your spouse, neither of you need to attend the court hearing.
I took my husband’s name when I married – can I change my name before the divorce goes through?
If you want to use your maiden or birth name, it can be as simple as showing your birth certificate to a particular agency, like Medicare.
Visit the South Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages for more information.
Can I change my children’s surnames now that I’ve separated or divorced?
Besides your own, name changes after divorce – such as your children’s surnames – require the agreement of the other parent or an order of the court.
Johnston Withers’ divorce lawyers can give you advice about what to do if you’re unable to obtain the agreement of the other parent.
How does custody work in a divorce, and how does property get divided in a divorce? When does this happen?
Who gets custody of a child in divorces in Australia?
This can be one of the biggest stressors for couples going through a separation and divorce.
Getting a divorce is separate to custody issues and dividing up the assets and liabilities that you both might have.
You don’t have to wait until you’re divorced to attend to these.
A divorce is the legal ending of the marriage.
It’s often the case that people need to sort out arrangements for children and financial matters fairly soon after they’ve separated.
Importantly, there’s only a 12-month period after the divorce is final in which to resolve a property settlement or to apply to court for property orders if you’ve been unable to reach an agreement.
You should talk with Johnston Withers’ divorce lawyers about how to divide up your property and get advice about children’s arrangements as early as you can once you have separated.
You will then be able to better make decisions about your future and plan for the changes that follow a separation.
Contact Johnston Withers Lawyers
When it comes to family law, experience matters.
If you’d like assistance with how to apply for a divorce in South Australia, or advice in relation to a divorce, please call Ben Collinson on 8532 5800 or contact Johnston Withers online.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter.
Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
More information: johnstonwithers.com.au/murray-bridge-lawyers.
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