As an expert divorce lawyer with over a decade of experience in family law in Western Australia, I’ve put together a Comprehensive Guide to Getting a Divorce in WA in 2022.
This guide includes;
- What is a divorce?
- Do you have to go to court for a divorce in WA?
- Do both parties have to consent?
- Do I have to hire a family lawyer?
- What are the requirements for divorce in WA in 2022?
- How long do you have to be separated before divorce in WA?
- What is the process of getting a divorce?
- How much does it cost to get divorced in WA?
- Do both parties have to pay court fees?
- How long does it take to get a divorce?
- What am I entitled to in a divorce in WA?
- What effect does divorce have on a will?
What is a divorce?
A divorce is a declaration that a marriage is ended. In Australia, to be legally married, you have to go through the proper steps and register the marriage with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. You will then receive a certificate to confirm the marriage.
Simply separating does not end the marriage at the end of the relationship. The marriage remains in place until it is ended through a divorce. Divorces are completed through the Family Court of Western Australia.
Do you have to go to court for a divorce in WA?
Divorce has to go through the Court process; however, the requirement to physically attend the Court relies on your circumstances.
There are two main ways to obtain a divorce – joint or solely.
A sole divorce is when you file the application on your own in the Court, and then you serve the other party.
A joint divorce is when you both wish to be divorced and your both sign the divorce application and jointly file it at the Court.
If you apply for a sole divorce, then attendance at the Court is required. The Court wants to ensure the other person has been properly served and given notice of the application before granting the divorce.
If you make a joint divorce, you generally do not need to attend because the parties agree.
Do both parties have to consent?
Both parties do not have to consent to a divorce in WA.
If one spouse meets the criteria, and the Court is satisfied, then divorce can occur. One spouse can not stop a divorce going through.
Just because one spouse is not happy about it doesn’t mean a divorce cannot be completed.
Do I have to hire a family lawyer?
A family lawyer is not required to get a divorce in WA, but we always encourage it.
Divorces are generally thought to be straightforward and easy; however, in our experience, they can be challenging to get through the Court if all of the documents are not completed correctly.
What are the requirements for a divorce in WA in 2022?
The requirements to get a divorce are;
- One or both spouses must regard Australia as home, be an Australian citizen or ordinarily live in Australia and have done so for the 12 months before the divorce being filed.
- The parties must married.
- The parties must be separated for 12 months.
How long do you have to be separated before divorce can be completed?
Parties must be separated for 12 months. This means a full 12 months so don’t file your application on the anniversary of your separation because it needs to be a full 12 months so file the day after!
Parties can become stuck when they do not agree on the separation date.
It is important to take note of the date both parties knew the relationship over.
Can a couple be considered separated but under the same roof?
Parties can be considered separated while living under the one roof.
This means they are married but have communicated to each other the relationship is clearly over but have continued residing under the one roof. This is generally from a financial stand point, logistics issue or a preferred structure for family. If this is the case then additional affidavit material will need to be provided to the Court to corroborate that you are in fact separated.
If a couple have been married less than 2 years then evidence that the couple has attended counselling must be provided to the Court.
What is the process for getting a divorce in WA?
All applications for divorce are filed online, the Courts no longer accept paper applications. The Courts in WA use a system called eCourts Portal. The spouse applying for the divorce can do so by following the step by step process via eCourts.
Once the application is filed, the Court will provide a hearing date. If required to attend in person then you will to attend the Family Court in person or apply to attend via telephone.
If you are not required to attend then the matter will be dealt with in your absence on the day.
Remember, a divorce is a paper exercise. If you do not cross the t’s and dot the i’s then it will be rejected or delayed.
Court Application in regards to financial matters
You have 12 months from the date your divorce is final to file an application in the Court in relation to financial matters.
A divorce starts the clock ticking. We recommend filing a divorce after financial matters are dealt with or once proceedings are commenced in the Court. We do not rush divorces as it does start the clock ticking.
How much does it cost to get divorced?
The filing fee payable to the Court is $910. There are concessions available however the person applying recieves the concession. With joint divorce applications where only one spouse has a concession card, the application will not be eligible for the discount.
If there is a sole application then a process server may need to be engaged to serve the other spouse, with fees generally around $100 – $200.
Do both parties have to pay court fees?
If one party is making a sole application then they will need to pay at the time of filing.
If it is a joint application then it is up to the parties. The Court only accepts one payment of the filing fee and the parties will need their own agreements of splitting the costs.
How long does it take to get a divorce in WA?
Getting a divorce in WA is generally takes within 8-12 weeks. It depends on how busy the Court is.
The divorce does not become final until one month and one day after the divorce hearing. This is important to remember if you are planning to remarry.
What am I entitled to in a divorce in WA?
A piece of paper confirming you are divorced.
Financial matters need to be dealt with separately. A divorce is only in relation to the marriage.
What effect does divorce have on a will?
A divorce revokes a will. It is important you draft a new Will after your divorce.
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Senior Lawyer, Founder & Practice Director of Mandurah Legal