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Legal Topics
Divorce

With the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) came the no-fault concept of divorce. Whether a spouse has committed adultery, or who left the marriage is no longer relevant to how the law applies - neither party is to blame.

There is now only a single ground for divorce - 'irretrievable breakdown' of the marriage. The court is no longer concerned about the reasons behind the breakdown of the marriage - but the marriage must have broken down to the extent that there is no possibility of reconciling.

To prove that there has been an irretrievable breakdown, a couple must have lived separately and apart for no less than 12 months before applying for a divorce.

When the court has decided that an Application for Divorce is successful, it grants a Decree Nisi. This is an interim order that means that the couple is divorced, but neither party may remarry until the Decree becomes absolute/final, one month and one day later. This one month period presumably gives the parties a chance to change their minds at the last minute.

Importantly a Decree Absolute will only be granted if proper arrangements have been made for any children of the marriage.

While the divorce marks the legal end of a marriage, it does not automatically settle other issues relating to the children of the marriage, maintenance or the division of assets. If these issues are disputed, they must be dealt with by the Court in a separate application.

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