Step 2: Preparing Your Divorce Application
To initiate the divorce process, visit the Family Law Courts website and obtain the Application for Divorce. You can either complete the application jointly with your spouse or separately as a sole applicant. You have the option to fill out the application yourself or seek assistance from a qualified divorce lawyer in Melbourne.
Once the application is prepared, it must be signed before a witness, typically a Justice of the Peace (JP). Arrange a meeting with a JP, and they will witness your signature. During this process, you will make an affirmation that the contents of your application are true and accurate to the best of your knowledge.
Step 4: Serving Your Divorce Application
If you are the sole applicant, you must ensure that your spouse is aware of the divorce proceedings, even if they do not agree to the divorce. You can serve the divorce application by mail or through a third party. If you are unable to locate your spouse, you must demonstrate that you have taken all reasonable steps to find them. In this case, you will state their address as ‘unknown’ and seek an order that allows you to dispense with service of the application.
HOW DIVORCE LAWYERS IN MELBOURNE CAN HELP
Divorce proceedings can be emotionally challenging, and we understand the importance of having the right guidance and support during this time. At Pentana Stanton Lawyers, we are dedicated to providing compassionate and expert legal assistance throughout your divorce process. Contact us today to book a consultation with divorce solicitors in Melbourne and allow us to support you through this sensitive period of your life.
Your Law Team
Partner | Principal Solicitor
Penny is a leading family law solicitor admitted in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
She has a broad range of expertise across multiple practice areas like family law, Wills and estate planning, and personal injuries, and is currently completing a Masters of Family Law.
Veronica is a family law solicitor with extensive experience in mediation, separation litigation, child protection, and intervention orders.
Veronica has worked in both the private and community sectors, giving her the knowledge needed to successfully handle highly complex, diverse matters.
A mother of three, Durra Baraz is a highly experienced family law solicitor with a background in HR.
She speaks fluent Arabic and often represents clients who aren’t native English speakers.
Ariane Ang combines experience in criminal and commercial matters with a focus on family law.
She primarily practices in matters involving property division, parenting arrangements, and intervention orders.
Teraseth James is a family law solicitor who focuses on achieving swift, equitable outcomes.
She understands that family violence matters are incredibly emotional, and takes a practical, cost-effective approach to resolving disputes.
Divorce and Separation Law FAQs
An annulment or declaration of nullity is when the Court declares that you and your partner were never legally married. A divorce, on the other hand, recognises that you were married, but that your marriage is now finished.
The Court can grant an annulment if:
- you or your partner were already married to someone else;
- you and your partner have a legally prohibited relationship (for example, if you’re both closely related);
- the marriage ceremony itself was not valid;
- you or your partner were under 18 years of age and did not have the required approvals; or
- you or your partner were forced into marriage under duress.
Experiencing family violence or not living together are not grounds for annulment in Australia.
Keep in mind that getting an annulment doesn’t deal with property settlement or child custody matters.
On average, family lawyers range from about $300 per hour (for newly graduated lawyers) to about $500 per hour (for family law specialists). Exactly how many hours your divorce takes depends on the complexity of your situation.
If, for example, you and your partner have an amicable relationship, four or five hours of legal advice around property settlement, parenting arrangements, and estate planning might be enough for you to move forward with your life.
On the other hand, a contentious divorce or separation, especially one with property disputes or child custody battles, can cost tens of thousands of dollars and take months or even years.
For that reason, we often find that finalising separations out of court is better for our clients. Informal mediation or family dispute resolution can help save you time and money (and stop your relationship with your ex-partner from deteriorating further).
The best way to find a good divorce lawyer is to talk to someone who has gone through a separation or divorce. If they’ve been happy with their lawyer (especially if their divorce situation is similar to yours), that can be a good starting point.
Alternatively, search ‘divorce lawyer Melbourne’ or ‘separation lawyer Melbourne’ in Google. The top 10 websites you see will generally be the most trusted and experienced family law firms in Melbourne.
Once you have a shortlist of potential lawyers, you can enquire about other aspects that matter to you, like their professional approaches, their pricing, the languages they speak, and their levels of legal experience. You can also look at Google reviews or testimonials on each firm’s website.
Your estate planning – which includes your Will – deals with how your property should be divided up when you die. You should review your estate planning whenever you have a major change in circumstances, such as the birth of a child or divorce.
In Victoria, getting married automatically revokes any existing Will. Divorce also affects your Will – unless specified otherwise, any appointments of or dispositions of property made to your ex-spouse in a Will that you made before divorce will be revoked.
Keep in mind, though, that ‘divorce’ only legally occurs once the Court finalises your divorce. You must wait at least 13 months and one day for that to happen, and many divorces take much longer. As such, it’s generally a good idea to update your Will (and the rest of your estate planning) as soon as you’ve separated.
You can get advice about your situation from our Wills and estates team by booking a free 30-minute consultation.
If you have recently divorced or separated and you’re unable to adequately support yourself, you can request spousal or de facto maintenance from your ex-partner. You must apply within 12 months of the divorce order taking effect, or within two years of separation. You can’t normally apply for maintenance if you’ve re-married.
If you think that your ex-partner doesn’t contribute equally to caring or maintaining your child, you can request child support by lodging an application for a child support assessment.