Family Court: A different way to divorce

Family Court: A different way to divorce

A divorce application is generally a simple affair:

  • lodge the application with a copy of the filing fee in the Federal Magistrates Court
  • demonstrate that there was a marriage, by  filing a copy of the marriage certificate
  • demonstrate that the the court has jurisdiction to divorce, as one of the parties is an Australian citizen, domiciled in Australia, or is ordinarily resident in Australia for 12 months before filing
  • show that there has been irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, which is demonstrated by 12 months separation
  • if there are children under 18, that proper arrangements have been made for their care, welfare and development
  • if it’s not a joint application, prove that a copy has been served on the other party. 

The recent Family Court case of Pillai and Doshi shows another way to get divorced. The first thing to observe is that the Family Court can hear applications for divorce, but rarely does so (except in WA) : they are dealt with in the Federal Magistrates Court.

The parties had a 5 day trial about their children. Sometime during the trial, the husband said that he also wanted the judge to hear a divorce application, to wrap things up. The judge agreed, and at the end of the trial, after dealing with the checklist of matters for a divorce,  ordered that the parties be divorced. By doing so, the judge saved the husband having to file an application in the Federal Magistrates Court, serve it and wait another 2 or 3 months before it came to court, turn up and then get divorced.

Less red tape. Good result.

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Family Law Section Law Council of Australia Award
Member of Queensland law society
Family law Practitioners Association
International Academy of Family Lawyers - IAFL
Mediator Standards Board