While the law makes getting a divorce as painless as possible, it isn’t always a cut and dry process. If one of the spouses adamantly opposes the divorce, they do have some legal say in the proceedings. However, few reasons exist to oppose a divorce. Here are some reasons that can delay one.
Six reasons divorces are delayed (Source: Pixabay)
Not Agreeing on Divorce Terms
Australia is a no-fault country for obtaining a divorce, which means it isn’t necessary to share with the court why the petitioner is seeking a divorce. The no-fault divorce principle went into effect in 1975, so few reasons exist to legally oppose a divorce.
However, if you don’t want a divorce, the proceedings can be delayed for a long time. The most common reason that divorces get delayed is that the divorcing couple cannot come to terms regarding money or property division.
12-Month Separation Period
Before a couple can get a divorce, a 12-month separation is required. Some couples may oppose this requirement because one of them cannot find a new home.
Although a couple can live together while separated, if they have sex or decide to reunite, then they are set back for as long as they are still together. For instance, if a couple reunites for a month, then a month than a month is added to the end of the separation time.
Cannot Agree on Custody of Minor Children
If the parents cannot agree about who should have custody of their minor children, then the Court could decide for the divorcing couple.
They usually only step in if the couple cannot amicably agree about custody arrangements. To avoid this problem, hire divorce lawyers Sydney to help you.
Spouse Files Response to Divorce
If your spouse opposes the divorce, then they can file a Response to Divorce when they receive the divorce papers. However, the reason to delay most proceedings is that the couple was not separated for 12-months, or they are in the wrong jurisdiction for the divorce.
Should your spouse file a Response to Divorce, then you should hire a solicitor to go to court with you to answer the paperwork they must file. As long as you can show that the marriage is “irrevocably broken,” then the courts should grant the divorce.
Cannot Find The Spouse
If you cannot find your spouse, then it is very difficult to serve him or her with divorce papers. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot get a divorce.
After a reasonable attempt to find the spouse, you can apply for the court to dispense with the service requirement or grant a substituted service.
A substituted service order allows you to get a divorce without serving the spouse with divorce papers. Substituted Service Order allows you to serve divorce papers by:
- Posting them to their last known address
- Delivering them to a friend or family member
- Through an email address
- On Facebook Messenger
- Through a social media app like Whatsapp or WeChat
- Sending the papers to their work address
- Posting an ad in a newspaper
These are legal ways to notify your spouse about divorce if you cannot locate him or her. Some of the evidence that you can use to show that you tried to find your spouse is:
- Records of time and dates you tried to call their last known phone number and their work
- Written proof you spoke with their friends or family about the spouse’s location
- Contacted the Australian Electoral Commission to look up your spouse
- Tried searching them on Google or WhitePages®
- Tried using social media to locate your spouse
Doubts About Citizenship When Divorcing
To divorce in Australia, you must be an Australian citizen, live in the country, and regard it as your permanent home, and if you usually live in Australia, and have done so 12 months before applying for a divorce. If there is reason to doubt your citizenship, then the courts could delay the divorce, but few circumstances exist where they would delay it.
If the marriage is legal in Australia, one of you is domiciled in the country and has been during the last 12 months, and then you can get a divorce. Although getting a divorce, if you’re in separate countries may be difficult, it’s possible.
However, it is best if you hire a lawyer who is an expert in divorce, especially international divorces, to help make sure you meet the legal requirements before serving divorce papers to your spouse.
Getting a divorce can be traumatic, but in Australia, few reasons exist to grant a divorce if one of the spouses can show that they shouldn’t be together anymore.