Family Law Separation & Divorce


Separation and divorce are major life changes for all members of a family. If your marriage or de facto relationship breaks down, you and your former partner may need to quickly reach agreement on some practical issues for your family, including:-

  • Where the children will live.
  • How much time the children will spend with each parent.
  • How decisions regarding the children will be made.
  • What arrangements will be made for financial support of the children.MELCA Separation Survival Kit
  • How your property will be divided.
  • Whether one partner will need to provide ongoing financial support for the other.

These decisions can be essential, and short term arrangements can have long lasting consequences. It is important that you seek independent family law legal advice either before you separate, or as soon as practicable after you separate, so that you can be fully informed when making such important decisions.


In Australia, the Family Law Act 1975 provides for what is described as ‘no fault divorce’. When applying for a divorce, the Family Law Act 1975 does not consider the causes of the marriage breakdown. The only requirement is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. This is proven by you and your husband or wife living ‘separate and apart’ for at least 12 months. After this period of time you may apply to the Family Court or Federal Magistrates Court for a divorce.

If you have been married for a period of less than two years, you are normally required to obtain a counselling certificate when applying to the Court for a divorce.

If there are children of the relationship, the Court must be satisfied that you have made appropriate arrangements for your children’s living and care arrangements before granting a divorce.

Divorce marks the legal end of your marriage. However, your divorce will not settle issues such as the parenting arrangements for your children, child support, and the division of the property of your marriage or spousal maintenance. These issues are dealt with separately.