Divorce Lawyers Perth

How do I go about getting divorced?

You can apply to file for divorce through the Family Court of WA by lodging your application and paying a filing fee. This application can be done jointly with your ex- partner, or separately.

After the court receives your paperwork, they will set a divorce hearing. If neither party contests the divorce and you meet the requirements for divorce, your divorce will likely be granted. 

Our team of divorce lawyers can help you through the process.

What are the requirements for getting a divorce?

In order for a divorce to be successful, two requirements must be met:

  1. Your marriage has broken down irretrievably
  2. You have been separated from your ex-partner for a minimum of 12 months 

What does it mean to be separated?

Physical separation
This type of separation is fairly self-explanatory and in the majority of cases the facts will speak for themselves. This kind of separation usually and one of the parties moving out, and otherwise living separate lives from that point onwards. 

Separation under the same roof
This type of separation is a little bit harder to deal with. If you have split up with your ex-partner but have continued to live in the same house, you must prove that your partnership has broken down. 

These consists of various things that typically make up a relationship – such as marital intercourse, socialising and spending time together, sharing household chores and eating meals together.

A case study 

In the case of The marriage of Woods the court found that the parties simply could not afford to live separately and the husband came home at weekends, living at his place of work during the weeks. The parties slept in separate rooms, did not eat together and the husband did all his own household chores. The court found that this was enough to count as being separated under the same roof. 

If you have been separated under the same roof, it is necessary to file an affidavit with your divorce application. Our team of Perth Divorce lawyers can help you with more information about this.

I’ve been married for less than two years - is it the same requirements for me?

If you have been married for less than 2 years, the court has an additional requirement for getting divorced. You must obtain a certificate that states that you and your ex-partner have considered a reconciliation with the assistance of an appropriate counsellor or organisation. There are some circumstances where you can file an affidavit instead of the counselling certificate such as if there was family violence or you don’t know where your ex-partner is.  

Does it matter whose fault it was that the marriage broke down?

Not anymore. Since 1976 the changes to the legislation made it so Australia has a ‘no fault’ divorce system, meaning that as long as the period of separation is met and your marriage has irretrievably broken down, it doesn’t matter whose fault it was.

Me and my wife own a house and boat together - does getting a divorce affect what I’m entitled to?

No, your property split is completely separate to your divorce and you still have a year from your date of divorce to lodge an application to the court for your property matter.

What about our children?

Again, sorting out arrangements for your children is separate to getting a divorce and can be sorted out after the divorce application is approved.

The court may however not grant you a divorce if you have children of the marriage who are under 18 and you do not have proper arrangements made for the care, welfare and development of the children. 

A case study 

In the case of Poppo v Poppo, the husband was living in Brunei and the wife and children in Australia. The husband was paying the wife a certain amount in child support at the time in which he applied for divorce. The mother believed that this amount was too low and the father’s financial situation was unclear at this stage. The court fond that the proper arrangements had not been made and did not grant the divorce. 

I got married overseas. Can I get divorced in Australia?

You must meet one of the following:

  • regard Australia as your home and intend to live in Australia indefinitely, or
  • are an Australian citizen by birth, descent or by grant of Australian citizenship, or 
  • ordinarily live in Australia and have done so for 12 months immediately before filing for divorce

I got divorced overseas. Is this recognized in Australia?

Yes, the Australian courts will recognise an overseas divorce as long as the divorce complies with the laws of the country in which it was made.

Where should I get the help of a divorce lawyer?

Most of the time, if both parties agree on the separation period the marriage being broken down irretrievably, divorce is fairly straight forward. The times in which it may be a good idea getting help from a Perth divorce lawyer could be 

  • your partner is contesting the date of separation 
  • you have been separated under the same roof and need help getting an affidavit prepared 
  • you are not sure where your ex-partner is. 

MEET JEFF HEWITT

Jeff Hewitt is the head of MKI Legal’s family law team. Jeff is a senior family lawyer with over 16 years’ experience.

Jeff practises exclusively in family law. He has extensive experience in property and financial matters, parenting and children’s matters, de facto property matters, family law matters affecting same sex couples, superannuation splitting, spousal maintenance, divorce, child support, child support agreements, binding financial agreements, and consent orders.

Jeff is an experienced negotiator who takes great pride in resolving disputes and keeping people out of court as much as possible.

In his spare time, Jeff enjoys spending time with his family, playing guitar, reading, meditation, and supporting his beloved football team.

Jeff is a member of the Family Law Practitioners’ Association of Western Australia, the Law Society of Western Australia, and the Law Council of Australia (Family Law Section).