Divorce would be a lot easier if everything was black and white: simple. Unfortunately, it is not the case. Divorce is a very grey, subjective field. How to navigate your way through divorce is different for everyone and every couple. In an attempt to make it as simple and straightforward as possible, Divorce Answered has created two flow charts to help illustrate the process that your divorce may, can and could take. The process of separating, applying, filing and having a divorce granted, can take at minimum of 14 months. Lodging a divorce application can only occur after you and your partner have been separated for 12 months. This application may be joint or sole. If a sole application, the papers need to be served to the other party (your former partner). Then a Judge will confirm that the divorce is still desired and a month later the divorce is finalised. There are set court fees for this process, fee exemptions/reductions are available to those that qualify and a FREE divorce application is available on the Family Law Court Website (don’t be fooled into purchasing one online).
The process takes quite a long time because the Family Court wants to give you and your partner every opportunity to reconcile and resurrect the union. Similarly, when you and your partner are wanting to finalise parenting orders and financial settlements, the Court wants to create and encourage people to come to their own amicable agreements OUT OF COURT.
Initially, many people attempt to create an agreement between themselves. For some who are amicable, fair and able to communicate openly about their needs and wants, this path is a great option and the most cost efficient. However, the longer the process and the more involved the lawyers are, the more costly the process becomes. Depending on the asset pool, it is sometimes not worth the cost of chasing that extra $20,000 because it could all be spent in legal fees. In the instance that parents have vastly different views on parenting arrangements, and provided the Judge is sufficiently concerned for the wellbeing of the children, an independent children’s lawyer (ICL) may be appointed (see more information about ICLs in information). It isn’t possible to put a finite time and monetary value on having parenting orders approved and financial settlements ordered. For some couples it can take months and for some others it can take many years. The best and easiest way to agree upon parenting orders and a financial settlement is to stay as realistic as possible and open to negotiations and mediation; and if children are involved, make sure that you are as child-focused as possible.
Depending on your situation and how far into the divorce process you are, Divorce Answered has products and e-books to assist you. The more information that you have and the more prepared that you are, the more empowered you will be throughout your divorce and separation.