Our family law services

Separation & Divorce

What we offer

Separation & Divorce

Separation is the end of a relationship. Only one person in the relationship needs to decide that the relationship is over and communicate separation to the other person.

Divorce is the legal end of a marriage. Australia has ‘no fault’ divorce which means that a reason for the divorce is not necessary. The only ground for divorce is that the marriage broke down and there is no reasonable chance that the parties will get back together.

The granting of a divorce does not determine issues of financial support, property division or arrangements for children. It is simply a formal recognition that the marriage has ended.

Are you able to apply for a divorce?

You can apply for a divorce if either you or your former partner:

  • 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

To apply for a divorce you must have lived separately and apart for at least 12 months. You can be separated and remain living in the same house. This is known as being separated but living under one roof.

The law on divorce equally applies to same-sex marriages.

A court will only make a divorce order if they are satisfied that proper parenting arrangements have made for any children under 18. This means that you will need to provide details about the children’s parenting will be asked to provide information about any children of the marriage, or who were treated as members of the family in your application. Be sure to provide sufficient detail about the how the child/ren spend time and communicate with each parent, their education, health and financial support.

Time limits

Different time limits apply for making an application to the Court for financial orders depending on your individual situation.

  • If you were married, applications for property adjustment must be made within 12 months of your divorce becoming final.
  • If you were in a de facto relationship, your applications for property adjustment must be made within two years of the breakdown of your de facto relationship.

If you want to start proceedings out of time, you must ask the Court for permission to do so (known as “leave”) and this permission is not always granted.

Frequently Asked Questions

We address the common concerns you might have as you navigate the realms of family law. Our aim is to provide clear, straightforward answers to help demystify the legal processes involved. Here are some of the most asked questions in family law in QLD, Australia.

  • When can I get a divorce?

    You can apply for a Divorce once you and your ex have been separated for 12 months. You and your spouse can be separated under the same roof for all or part of the 12 month period. If you were separated under the same roof then additional evidence must be provided to the court about the separation.

  • Do I have to explain why I want a divorce?

    Parties do not have to explain to the court why their relationship broke down or why they want a divorce. There is “no fault” divorce in Australia. The Application for Divorce does not include any information about the reason for divorce.

  • What happens if my ex won't sign the Divorce Application?

    Your ex does not have to agree to get divorced. Either party to the marriage can make an Application for Divorce or alternatively, a joint application can be made by both parties. In the event that one party makes the Application for Divorce the application will need to be served on the other party. There are strict requirements in relation to the way the documents are served and in relation to the time it is served.

  • Do I have to go to the Hearing?

    If the Application for Divorce is a joint application or the parties do not have children under the age of 18, neither party is required to attend the hearing. If there are children under the age of 18 and one party made the Application for Divorce, the applicant must attend the hearing. If service of the Application for Divorce has not been completed, the applicant must attend the hearing to obtain directions orders about the next steps to be taken to effect service or to adjourn the hearing to allow service of the application to be effected on the other party.

  • When can I get re-married?

    You can get remarried once a Divorce Order has become final. A Divorce Order becomes final one month after the order is made by the Court.

  • What happens if I don't know where my ex-partner is living?

    Your Application for Divorce must be served on your ex-partner. You must take all reasonable steps to serve the documents on them. If, despite your best efforts, you cannot locate them to serve the application you may be able to apply for an order for substituted service. The court can make orders permitting substituted service of the application on a family member or friend that your ex is in contact with and who would be able to bring the application to your ex’s attention. We can advise you in relation to the steps that the court will require you to take prior to granting an application to dispense with service.

Getting started

A step-by-step guide to resolving your family law problem

Getting started on resolving your family law problem can feel overwhelming, but understanding the process can ease the way. Here’s a straightforward guide to what you can expect from your first appointment with us, designed to equip you with the knowledge and confidence to take the next steps.

1. Making first contact

Reaching out is the first step towards resolving your family law matter.

You can book an initial appointment with us on our online booking calendar on our website or over the phone. We offer two initial options to get the conversation started: a complimentary 15-minute chat or a comprehensive one-hour consultation for $450, including GST.

Both provide a safe space for us to understand your unique situation.

2. Preparing for your consultation

While it’s natural to feel anxious about your first meeting with a family lawyer, we aim to make the process as smooth as possible. We offer appointments in person either at our Cairns or Innisfail office, or by Telephone or Microsoft Teams appointments.

If your matter is about a property settlement, be prepared to answer questions about what property you currently own and its estimated value and the property that you and your former partner owned at the start of the relationship.

Please ensure you have childcare in place for your children, as we do not allow children to attend appointments.

3. During the initial consultation

The initial consultation is a one-hour session with a family lawyer on our team. We will listen to your story, ask you relevant questions, provide you with preliminary advice about your separation, divorce, parenting and/or property matter and make a plan forward to assist you to resolve your matter.

4. The next step

Following your first consultation, should you choose to engage our services, we’ll provide you with a cost agreement and disclosure notice detailing our legal fees and terms of engagement.

With our expertise by your side, you’ll have the resources and strategies to make confident decisions and progress towards a resolution.

Want to meet the team? Book a consult and let's chat

Our team

Meet the dedicated professionals who make Cairns Family Law Group your trusted ally in navigating family law. Each member of our team not only brings legal expertise but also a genuine commitment to understanding your unique situation.

Together, we focus on equipping you with the knowledge to make informed decisions that positively shape your future.

For a deeper dive into the expertise and ethos that each team member brings to your case, click below.

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