Divorce, it’s not really the word you want to hear, but the reality is it does happen, and people embarking on this uncomfortable journey want to know how long it takes within Australia. The answer isn’t a simple one and is a bit more detailed than a simple time frame.

Generally speaking, it takes a number of months to finalise a divorce process. It depends on when you first file your application with the court for the divorce.

The timeframe is not inclusive of the time leading up to filing the application for divorce. The length is impacted by various aspects, including considerations within the application for you and your spouse to agree. If you are a sole applicant, then time is influenced again by your spouse’s need to be ‘served’, and arrangements need to be made for any children involved before submitting the application.

You can see there is no simple course of time to finalise a divorce, and we explore in-depth below about the why’s and how.

The Difference Between Separation & Divorce

You need to understand that there is a difference between separation and divorce so you can make the decisions right for you before filing for divorce.

Separation is when the communication stops between the two parties. Being physically separated does not signify the end of the marital relationship but rather the departure from the state of things.

Divorce in the law’s eyes is only confirmed when an Order from the Court is obtained by either party from the now-separated couple. It’s important to note that you must be separated for 12 months before being able to file for divorce, this includes if you have been ‘separated under one roof.’

Filing For Divorce

As far as the court is concerned, its role is to ensure that all the divorce requirements have been fulfilled not whose ‘fault’ it is for the relationship breakdown.

Two requirements below:

  • The two parties have been separated for more than a year
  • There has been an ‘irretrievable breakdown’ and reconciliation of the marriage is no longer possible

It needs to be noted that if you have only been married for less than two years, then you can only apply for a divorce after two years of separation.

Is It A Sole Or Joint Application

Divorce can be filed by yourself as a ‘sole applicant’ or with your spouse, referred to as a ‘joint application.’

If a joint application is filed, also there’s no dependant under 18 years of age, you won’t need to attend the divorce hearing. On the other hand, if a sole application is filed and there is a child from the marriage who is a minor, your attendance will be required at the hearing.

These requirements are in place so that the court is satisfied that:

  • Safe and proper measures have been made for any children from the marriage that are under 18 years of age; or
  • If appropriate arrangements haven’t been made, special circumstances exist as to why the divorce should occur.

After this, all divorces become finalised after one month and a day after it was granted. This is when the Divorce Order is issued by the court.

Divorce Proceedings Delays

Overall, your divorce should be finalised within a few months, all going well and depending on how soon you receive a hearing date.

There are circumstances during the proceedings where there can be delays. An example of this is if you file for a divorce, there may be issues finding your spouse to issue them with papers.

If any steps have been overlooked, or problems are discovered with the paperwork, an adjournment in the hearing will take place and be moved to another date. Additionally, if the court isn’t happy with the arrangements in place to protect your child, this can also cause delays.

Divorce Time Limits?

There are no limits on time to apply for a divorce and can be applied anytime after twelve months of separation. There are no requirements for the divorce to be finalised to formalise arrangements for your children or property settlement.

Once the divorce is finalised, there is a 12-month time schedule for any property settlement in the circumstance you and your spouse cannot agree on terms yourself. If an application is not lodged by the 12-month expiry date, your application may not be successful, and you will have to seek permission to proceed out of time.

Legal representation and advice should be sought straight away if you have missed the expiry date. Our Queensland lawyers team can advise you on how we can proceed.

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