Many people dream of a happily ever after of love and companionship when they decide to get married. Unfortunately, unforeseen circumstances can happen, resulting in an irreversible breakdown of a marriage relationship, even without one spouse doing something untoward to their partner. That's why all states in Australia allow no-fault divorce.
In a no-fault divorce, the spouse who wants to establish a divorce does not need to accuse the other party of any wrongdoing. In short, the spouse filing for a divorce does not bear specific burdens of proof.
However, there are certain requirements that must be met for the divorce to go through.
1. There has to be proof of a marriage (or de facto relationship)
To be granted a divorce in a family law court, a couple should either be legally married or in a de facto relationship. A marriage or de facto relationship may exist despite the divorcing couple not living under the same roof.
The spouse filing for divorce simply needs to demonstrate that they have an intimate and ongoing relationship with the party they're seeking to get divorced from and that they're not related by family.
2. There is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
There is no test to be met to prove that a marriage has broken down irretrievably. All that is required is for one party to feel that they can't get along with their spouse and that the marriage is over to them.
The no-fault divorce process has eliminated the need to provide any objective reasons as to why the marriage should be ended. Even where the responding party does not agree that there are irreconcilable differences in the marriage, the court will grant a divorce to the party that makes the application.
3. The parties have been living separate lives for at least one year
For a divorce to go through, the party filing for a divorce must demonstrate that they have separated from their spouse for at least 12 months. During this period, they can be living in separate houses or the same house. The party making the application just needs to demonstrate that they haven't been living the way a normal, healthy married couple would.
4. Proper parenting arrangements exist for any minor children of the marriage
When marriages breakdown, minor children usually bear the brunt of the breakdown. In order to protect these children, divorcing parents are required to make the proper arrangements for taking care of the children before they can end their marriage relationship.
If you're considering a divorce, get in touch with a family law lawyer to learn more about the next steps to take.