Divorce and Child Arrangements in Australia: The Ultimate Guide

Divorce and Child Arrangements in Australia: The Ultimate Guide

Divorce is one of the most challenging life events a person can experience. It is even more challenging for children. 

However, in some cases where relations have irretrievably broken down, it may be necessary that you and your partner separate for the good of everyone, including the children. In such situations, you both must come to an acceptable agreement, which is in the best interest of the children. 

This guide to divorce and child arrangements will help you understand what a divorce means for you and your children and how to achieve a parental plan that ensures their well-being and healthy upbringing. 

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Everything You Should Know About Divorce and Child Arrangements in Australia

How to file for a divorce?

In order to apply for divorce, partners must be separated for a period of at least 12 months. If there is a period of failed reconciliation for three months or more, the 12-month separation restarts. From applying for a divorce to finalising one, typically takes at least four months.

The Australian Family Law Act stipulates that a divorce can only happen if: 

  • The marriage has completely broken down
  • You have lived separately for more than 12 months

Separation, in this case, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have been living independently. If you have witnesses that can convince the court that you and your partner live separate lives despite sharing a residence, the court will hear your application. 

Who Can Apply For A Divorce?

If you’re both convinced that your marriage can no longer function, you can jointly apply for a divorce. 

Otherwise, if your partner is not willing to go through with the divorce you can apply on your own. For your application to be approved, you’ll need to prove that:

  • You were married – provide a copy of your marriage certificate 
  • You have lived separately for more than 12 months
  • You and your spouse are beyond any reconciliation 
  • You have made proper arrangements for your children

The court will only consider your application if either of you:

  • Is an Australian citizen
  • Is an Australian resident
  • Consider Australia their permanent home 

Child Arrangements 

If you have children less than 18 years living with you during the divorce application, you must convince the court of proper arrangements to care for them. 

A consent order agreement explains to the court how you intend to split assets like cash, property, or pensions, as well as spousal and child care arrangements. These guidelines enable the court to enforce in the event of non-conformity.

You must, therefore, provide this information in your divorce application detailing how you plan to co-parent the children as divorced parents. 

In approving your application, the court will do two things:

  • Proclaim that you have made the proper arrangements for the welfare and upbringing of your children
  • Explain why the divorce should go through despite a lack of suitable arrangements for the care of your kids

The second instance is unlikely to happen. Usually, the court will delay the divorce proceedings until you provide convincing information regarding child arrangements.

Video: Split Easy Divorce Video

How to Make Arrangements for Your Children before a Divorce 

Child arrangements may vary depending on the age of your kids. Generally, the provisions should encompass, among other things:  

  • A flexible routine for the children’s upbringing after the divorce
  • The time children will spend with each parent and extended family members
  • Where they’ll go to school and during the holidays
  • Health care plans 
  • Important religious and cultural decisions affecting the children 

What Happens After a Divorce Application Is Approved?

After the approval of a divorce application, the court will set a hearing date.

If your spouse did not approve of the divorce, they will be served with a copy of the application about 28 days before the hearing. If the judge rules in your favour, they will issue a divorce order, one month and one day after the hearing.

Final Thoughts

We hope that this guide has helped you to understand how divorce and child arrangements in Australia work. After the divorce, ensure that the kids know that you both still love and care for them despite not being together. 

Split Easy helps to simplify the divorce process and can help couples work towards a final divorce that is not protracted. 

Get in touch with our friendly team PH: 1300 545 233. They have the skill set to walk you through the divorce process, making it as pain-free and smooth as possible.

Have Questions? Read our FAQs

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