If you’re experiencing relationship breakdowns and looking to apply for a divorce, our lawyers at Rockwell Bates are here to help.

We’re here to assist you through the entire process and provide the support you need. From the moment you speak with our lawyers, you’ll be assured to feel taken care of, listened to, and most importantly feel confident that you’ll get the outcome you want out of your divorce.

From same-sex relationships, to IVF and surrogacy born children, through to part-time co-habitation arrangements and blended families sometimes across two or three previous relationships, we help with all types of relationship arrangements and divorce proceedings.

1. The Divorce Itself

The first step in the divorce process is to apply for the divorce itself, whether it be a separate or joint application. Before you make an application to the Court or Registrar to terminate your marriage, you must ensure that you meet the requirements for obtaining a divorce order. Not only must you be able to prove that the marriage has “broken down irretrievably”, but you are required to submit evidence that your separation occurred at least a year ago.

If you share children with your former spouse, then there are some additional steps to the process. Formal arrangements regarding the care of the children must have been made before a court will grant a divorce in order to protect their safety. On top of that, if you have children under the age of 18, then an appearance at the divorce hearing is mandatory unless you have made a joint application.

2. Property Settlement

Our highly experienced divorce lawyers at Rockwell Bates are available to guide you through the four key steps involved in a property settlement.

The first step is to identify the assets of both parties to ensure that the agreement reached is as comprehensive and fair as possible. It is important to disclose assets, including properties, cars, superannuation or shares, and any liabilities, like credit card debt or mortgages. It may also be necessary to divulge information on spending habits and bank balances to get a clear picture of both parties’ financial situations.

Secondly, our lawyers will help you assess the contributions made by each party, whether before, during, or after the relationship. Not only do we consider financial contributions, but we also note non-financial factors such as domestic labour and child-rearing.

From there, the court may make adjustments to the settlement to determine the future needs of each party, based on factors including employment status, income, age, health, superannuation, and dependents.

The final step of the process is to decide whether the court’s decision is reasonable and equitable. As it is rare for both parties to receive an equal share from the settlement, there is the chance of resentment over the final verdict. If there are objections to the decision, lawyers can solicit a mediator to help resolve any tension and reach an agreement.

3. Child Custody & Parenting Agreements

Given that parenting after a separation can involve many challenges, our team at Rockwell Bates is committed to ensuring that the process of reaching an agreement is as smooth as possible. A parenting agreement outlines the details of care arrangements for children and can be either written or verbal. It is not only the parents who are responsible for creating the terms, as children and other family members are also encouraged to contribute. Above all, the main priority is to ensure that the child’s best interests are taken into consideration.

If an agreement cannot be reached, then a consent or parenting order put forward by the Family Court of Australia may be necessary. However, a family dispute resolution practitioner can help to avoid going through the court process by resolving disagreements over custody. On top of that, guidance can be provided if one parent wants custody or the sole parental responsibility.

Rockwell Bates brings expertise across a diverse range of family and divorce matters. To learn more, get in touch with us by giving us a call or submitting a form.

Applying For a Divorce? Here’s What You Need to Know

In Australia, you can apply for a divorce only after you have been separated from your partner for over at least one year. Since the 1976 Family Law Act established the ‘no-fault divorce’ system, there is no need to prove that the divorce or breakdown of a marriage was due to the fault of a certain party.

Therefore, the only requirement to apply for a divorce is to prove that the marriage has ‘broken down irretrievably’ meaning the marriage cannot be salvaged or mended – i.e. through marriage and couples counselling etc.

However, as mentioned before, divorce settlements require evidence that both individuals have been separated for at least one year.

If you’re only looking to settle disputes and arrangements regarding shared children under 18 years of age with your spouse, then this can be dealt with immediately and does not require waiting a certain time period. See our Child & Parenting Arrangements page for more.

Likewise, if you’re only looking to settle asset or property issues or disputes, these too can also be dealt with immediately and do not require waiting a certain time period. See Private Client page for more.

If your spouse does not agree to the divorce, it may still be possible for the court to continue with your divorce application without the other spouse present, given that you can prove separation for over one year as well as necessary arrangements have been made in relation to any shared children.

After your final divorce hearing, the outcome or order by the judge does not take full effect until 4 weeks after the order has been given.

The way in which your Family Law team gave me a very clear road map of the divorce process and what to expect as well as an explanation of the costs to get to each stage - made me feel totally in control of my whole divorce proceedings. I would absolutely recommend Daniel and his team!

Karen
Family Law Client

The Rockwell Bates team worked with my tax advisors and accountants to construct a complex estate plan and family business charter that protected the wealth I had created via our family business interest but gave us enough flexibility & clarity to enable me to help my children in their own business and personal ventures.

Harry
Estate Planning & Asset Protection

Divorce Law FAQs

You can obtain an application for divorce online from the Federal Circuit and Family Court website. Or you can make an application to the Court or Registrar to terminate your marriage. You need to have been separated for 12 months. If there are children involved, you need to have proper arrangements for their welfare.

The cost of a divorce can vary. If it is a straightforward process, taking a few weeks with all parties in agreement, then the costs will be low. If the divorce ends up in front of the courts, with disagreement and disputes, then it can be a lot more costly if lawyers are required to accompany you to court.

An annulment dissolves a marriage as if the marriage had never taken place. If one or both parties believe there was something legally invalid about the marriage, it can be annulled. A divorce takes place when both parties agree there was a marriage, which will be ended.

You don’t need a lawyer to apply for a divorce. You can make a joint application, and if both parties are amicable and the welfare of any children is taken care of, you don’t need to engage with a lawyer. If there are complications or disagreements, we highly recommend engaging the services of an expert in Family Law.

Family Lawyers Who Are on Your Team

Rockwell Bates brings expertise across a diverse range of family and divorce matters. To learn more, get in touch with us by giving us a call or submitting a form.

Call us on (03) 9087 7900 or request a private, confidential chat with a senior laywer.