How to divorce without going to court in Australia

by | Apr 25, 2023 | Blog, Divorce

There’s no doubt, divorce can be a very difficult time. Which is why if you’re going through one it’s a good idea to ensure the process is as stress free and cost effective as possible. 

The best way to do this is to focus on reaching an amicable agreement with your ex-partner outside of court. If this is possible you’ll avoid the stress and expense of family court and most likely have a better relationship moving forward.

Reaching a divorce agreement outside of court

If you and your partner have both agreed to end your marriage then in most cases you will not need to attend court to file for divorce. If you’ve been married for over two years, separated for more than 12 months and one day and your marriage has broken down – you’ll simply need to apply for divorce online using the Commonwealth Courts Portal then wait for the divorce to be finalised. 

If your partner does not agree to end the marriage you will need to file a sole application then serve the application for divorce on the other party. Usually you’ll only need to attend court to finalise your divorce if:

  • You have filed a sole application and there is a child from the marriage. 
  • Your ex-partner files a response opposing your application. 
  • Either party objects to the divorce being heard in their absence. 

While you may finalise your divorce outside of court, matters of parental responsibility, splitting of assets and financial maintenance may require that you attend court if you can’t reach an agreement.

How to divorce without court in Australia. Wedding ring on glass.

Mediation and consent orders

Reaching an agreement on financial and parenting matters is often the most difficult part of the divorce. That’s why it’s a good idea to attempt to keep discussions amicable wherever possible and approach your conversations carefully to avoid conflict. If this is difficult, Testart Family Lawyers can help by providing expert mediators to facilitate constructive discussion between both parties. 

If you manage to reach an agreement you can formalise this with what’s called a ‘consent order’. This is a legally binding agreement created by both parties with the help of a family lawyer then formalised by the court. 

What to include in a consent order

Your consent order must be created with the help of an experienced family lawyer to ensure that it’s correctly prepared and legally enforceable. It should include:

  • How relationship property such as property, cars, investments and bank accounts will be divided. 
  • Whether or not financial maintenance will be provided by either party, including details of when this will be paid and how much. 
  • How the parenting arrangement will function after the divorce and how childcare expenses will be covered. 
  • How childcare responsibilities will be divided, how decisions will be made about children’s upbringing, where they will go to school and where they will live. 

When creating your consent order you should consider financial contributions that each party has made, as well as unpaid contributions such as childcare and domestic work. Future needs and the earning potential of each partner should also be considered and the welfare of the child should be a priority. 

Hire an experienced family lawyer to divorce outside of court

To ensure your divorce goes as smoothly as possible it’s a good idea to get expert advice from day one. Testart Family Lawyers have decades of combined experience facilitating amicable divorces outside of court, and mediating difficult discussions between ex-partners. 

To get started contact Testart Family Lawyers and book your first free consultation.