Compassionate Divorce Lawyers in Brisbane

Move on to a happier version of yourself, leaving the past where it belongs.

The breakdown of a marriage can be a challenging, emotional time, and at Andrews Family Lawyers, we aim to make the process as smooth and easy for you as possible. Whether you’re ready to file for a divorce or are wondering what your options are, the information below will outline your eligibility to file for a divorce, the report you need to provide to the court, and the divorce application process from start to finish. You can also find out more about our divorce services here.

The advice on this page applies to all couples, both heterosexual and same-sex. Same-sex marriage is recognised under the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 and the Family Law Act 1975. If your de facto relationship has broken down, read our advice on your legal rights here. If you’re unsure if your marriage is recognised in Australia, contact us for an obligation-free consultation.

AFL - Divorce Lawyers Brisbane
divorce forms

Divorce Forms

The divorce forms you must complete for your application are available via the Commonwealth Courts Portal. You can fill these in and submit them on your own or with the assistance of an experienced lawyer. Seeking legal advice is essential to ensure you complete the forms correctly and provide all of the information the court requires upfront to avoid back and forth and added stress to what is likely an already tricky situation.

filing a divorce

Filing a Divorce Application

You must submit your application via the Commonwealth Courts Portal to apply for a divorce. You must register as a user, providing a username and login. This is the same portal used for all Family Court proceedings, so even if you have existing applications for parenting agreements or childcare consent orders, you must create a new file within the portal to download and complete your divorce application.

Here’s the step-by-step guide to filing a divorce online.

1. Register on the Commonwealth Courts Portal;

2. Select 'application for divorce' and press continue;

3. Complete sections A to F of the application form;

4. Lock the application and upload any supporting documents;

5. Print the application and sign the Affidavit for eFiling Application (Divorce);

  • For sole applications, only the applicant must sign in front of a Justice of the Peace;

  • For joint applications, both parties must sign before a Justice of the Peace.

6. Upload the Affidavit for eFiling Application (Divorce);

7. Download the Marriage, Families and Separation brochure;

8. Submit the application and pay the filing fee.

9. Select a court date. All divorce applications must be listed in court.

You will also need access to a scanner, printer, and credit card (Visa or Mastercard) to make payments.

Single or Joint Application For Divorce

Under Australian law, you can apply for a divorce either by yourself with a sole application or with your former partner in a joint application. The same form is used in both circumstances. However, there are different obligations in both.

If you want to file a sole application, you will be identified as the applicant and your former partner as the respondent. In this case, only you, as the applicant, must sign the Affidavit for filing the divorce papers. However, you will be required to serve documents on the other party (your spouse) as part of the application. For more information on this, read the Serving Divorce Papers section below.

If you file a joint application with your spouse, you will both be identified as the applicants. Therefore, both must sign the Affidavit for the application. One party will complete the application, sign it, and send it to the other party to review and sign. As divorce applications are completed online in Australia, you can sign and print the application after Step 1 to provide it to the other party for review. Once you have completed the application and finalised it at the end of Step 4, you can print for you and your spouse to sign the Affidavit before eFiling the application online.

Eligibility to File For a Divorce

You and your spouse must adhere to several criteria before you can legally apply for a divorce in Australia. The requirements you will need to satisfy are as follows:
You or your spouse must answer yes to at least one of the following about your right to live in Australia;
  • Born in Australia or have become an Australian citizen either by grant of citizenship or descent

  • Are lawfully present in Australia, have been living in Australia for at least the last 12 months, and intend to continue living in Australia. A passport showing the arrival date and a current visa must be presented.

The marriage has broken down, and there is no reasonable likelihood that you will get back together;
You have been separated for 12 months and one day or longer;
You have your marriage certificate.
Have you been married for less than two years? See the section below, ‘Can I apply for a Divorce?

Serving of Divorce Papers

Serving divorce papers is notifying the other party of the pending divorce application. Documenting can be done by mail, in person, or by serving the other party’s divorce lawyer. You must adhere to minimum periods when serving documents to your spouse. If they are in Australia, the documents must be served at least 28 days before the court hearing. The documents must be served 42 days before the court hearing if they are outside Australia.

If you cannot locate your spouse, we can assist you in proceeding. The first step is applying to the court for an order for substituted service. This is when the court allows you to serve the documents to a third party, which the court is satisfied will be able to bring the documents to the attention of your spouse. For example, this could be a friend or family member in contact with your spouse.

If you can’t apply for substitute service, we can help you apply for an order for dispensation of service. This is only granted in exceptional circumstances, however.

If your spouse is in prison or has a disability and you are unsure how to proceed, contact us, and we can help.

divorce paper

Do You Need to Go to Court to Get Divorced?

There is only one instance in which you are legally required to present to the court for a divorce application, and that is when you have filed a sole application, and there are children under 18 involved.

However, there are other instances in which you would be advised to attend, including if you are applying for substitute service, dispensation of service, or if the court requires more information. For example, more information may be necessary if you have separated but reside in the same residence or have been married for less than two years.

Our experienced lawyers can help guide you and ensure you have all the information submitted for smooth and quick divorce proceedings.

Can I Apply For a Divorce?

If you’re unsure whether or not you can apply for a divorce and have answered yes to the questions in the Eligibility section above, consider the following.

Can I apply for a divorce if I’ve been married less than two years? The short answer is yes. However, there are extra steps you must take before you’re eligible to submit your divorce application. Suppose you wish to apply for a divorce and you’ve been married less than two years. In that case, you are required under Australian law to attend a counselling appointment with a marriage counsellor to discuss the possibility of reconciliation. The counsellor must complete a certificate stating that they have discussed the possibility of reconciliation with you, and you are then required to attach the certificate with your divorce application.

If you do not attend a counselling appointment, you must seek permission from the court to submit a divorce application. Some reasons you may not be able to participate in a counselling appointment include the inability to locate your spouse, with an explanation of your attempts to find them, or if your spouse refuses to attend counselling, and evidence of your attempts to invite them to attend. If you need help with how to proceed, please contact us. Our experienced lawyers can help with an obligation-free consultation.

divorce application
divorce

How Much Does a Divorce Cost?

To file a divorce application in Australia, there is a fee of $1060. You may, however, be eligible for a reduced price of $350. You may qualify for the reduced price if:

  • You hold any Department of Human Services or Department of Veterans Affairs cards, including a seniors card, a pensioner concession card, or a health care card;
  • You have been granted Legal Aid;
  • You are receiving Austudy, youth allowance of ABSTUDY;
  • You are 18 or under, an inmate of a prison, or otherwise legally detained.

You may also apply for a reduction if the full fee will cause you financial hardship. We can assist you in completing this application and providing evidence.

Please note there are no fees involved in serving documents on the other party if this is required as part of your application process. However, legal fees may be needed should you seek the advice of an experienced family lawyer.

Financial hardship in family law

There are options available for people experiencing financial hardship. Certain fees can be waived, and others may be reduced. If you don’t qualify through the criteria outlined above, you may still be eligible for support through means testing. The Court uses a three-part test to assess qualification for financial hardship.

Three-Part Test for Financial Hardship

  1. Income Test. This considers your gross income from various sources and sets maximum income limits based on your dependents.

  2. Assets Test. Focuses on your liquid assets, which must be less than five times the fee payable.

  3. Day-to-Day Living Expenses and Liabilities Test. Evaluates if you have surplus income after covering reasonable living expenses and liabilities.

Application Process

  • Complete the ‘Application for exemption of fees – General’ or ‘Application for exemption of fees – financial hardship’ form with supporting documentation.

  • Note that eFiling is not available for these forms.

Validity and Limitations

  • A fee exemption is valid only for the specific fee you are applying for.

  • If your application is unsuccessful, you must pay the full fee.

  • Exemptions apply only to court fees, not other charges like transcript or service fees.

Supporting Evidence

You need to provide evidence of income, assets, living expenses, and liabilities. Detailed circumstances of financial hardship should be clearly outlined in the application.

How Are Assets Divided in a Divorce?

Filing for divorce under Australian law separates the two people in the marriage. It does not finalise arrangements regarding property division, other financial assets, or parenting agreements. For detailed information on the steps taken to assess the asset pool, consider the contributions made by each party, and the division of assets, read our article on who gets what in divorce.

Our experienced lawyers can guide you through the processes of applying for the division of assets and property and financial settlement, as well as child support arrangements and parenting dispute resolution.

assets division

Property settlements

There are property settlement options for couples looking to divide their property in a divorce.

A binding financial agreement can be entered at any point in a relationship. Parties can organise financial agreements without involving the Family Court. This can provide more flexibility in the terms included in the agreement. However, this flexibility can mean one party is disadvantaged in the split.

The parties must satisfy specific criteria to make the financial agreement legally binding:

  • Independent Legal Advice. Both parties must receive independent legal advice from a good family lawyer before signing the BFA. This is to ensure that each party understands the agreement’s implications.

  • Written Agreement. The BFA must be in writing and signed by both parties.

  • Certificate. The lawyers will provide a certificate showing the parties received independent legal advice.

Property orders can be made by agreement between the parties, known as consent orders, or to resolve an impasse. The Court requires property divisions to be fair to both parties. The legal process involves a four-step process to ensure this:

  1. Establish a clear picture of the couple’s assets, liabilities, and financial resources.

  2. Evaluate the contributions made by each party to the relationship.

  3. Assess the future requirements of each party.

  4. Ensure the final division of property is fair and equitable.

How Long Does a Divorce Take?

Once a divorce is officially granted, it will be finalised one month and one working day later. Under exceptional circumstances, the court may also be able to shorten this time. Once finalised, your divorce order will be available to download and print via the Commonwealth Courts Portal. It is important to remember that this document will have an electronic seal and signature and will be the only official and original record for evidence of the divorce.

Can You Apply For a Divorce Online?

To apply for a divorce in Australia, you must submit your application via the Commonwealth Courts Portal.

You are required to sign an Affidavit when submitting your divorce application. What is an Affidavit? An Affidavit is a legal statement presenting the facts or evidence surrounding your divorce. It will need to explain why you and your spouse wish to file for a divorce if you have not attended counselling, the reason for this, and if any special circumstances apply to your case, such as domestic violence or abuse, and concerns around your safety in attending a counselling session with your spouse.

While submitting your documents is relatively straightforward, there are multiple delicate parts to consider. Having an experienced lawyer on your side to work through your family law issues is essential.

How Andrews Family Lawyers Can Help You?

Ensuring Full Disclosure

We ensure a complete and honest disclosure of financial information from both parties. This transparency is crucial to avoid any misunderstandings or ambiguities in the agreement.

Tailoring to Individual Needs

Our firm approaches every agreement case by case. We take the time to understand our client’s specific circumstances and needs. Using generic templates that might not cover all relevant issues could lead to misinterpretation.

Clarifying Terms and Conditions

We will clearly define the terms and conditions of the agreement. The terms may include the division of assets, spousal maintenance, and other financial obligations. This avoids ambiguity as part of our duty to provide independent advice.

Negotiation and Mediation Skills

We always emphasise negotiation and mediation over litigation. In cases of disagreements or potential for ambiguity, we will work to reach a clear and mutually agreeable solution.

Our Process

Planning The Case
  • Initial Consultation: Meet with the client to understand their specific needs and concerns.
  • Legal Research: Conduct thorough research to understand the legal implications of the case.
  • Strategy Development: Develop a comprehensive strategy tailored to the client’s situation.
Detailly Evaluate Situation
  • Financial Assessment: Review all financial documents and assets involved.
  • Parenting Assessment: If children are involved, evaluate the best interests of the child.
  • Risk Analysis: Identify any potential risks or challenges that may arise during the case.
File Case To The Court
  • Documentation: Prepare all necessary legal documents, such as petitions, affidavits, and financial disclosures.
  • Filing: Submit the case to the appropriate court jurisdiction.
  • Court Appearances: Represent the client in court hearings and negotiations.

Why Choose Andrews Family Lawyers

Choosing a law firm that specialises in this area and puts your needs first is essential. Andrews Family Lawyers is an excellent option for a few reasons:

Expert Advice:

We deeply understand family law and can guide you step by step through the process. We’ll make sure everything is done correctly and efficiently.

Personalised Attention:

Every case is unique, so we take the time to understand your circumstances. Your concern will be tailored to your specific needs and goals.

Proven Success:

We have an excellent track record of handling cases successfully. You can trust us to handle your case with professionalism and care.

Client-Focused Approach:

We want to ensure you feel comfortable and informed throughout the legal process. We’ll do everything possible to make it as stress free as possible.

Accessible and Supportive:

Our team is approachable and supportive. We’ll keep you informed every step of the way and provide the support you need to get through the process.

Your Fresh Start Begins Here – Contact Us for Guidance!

Meet Peter Andrews

Legal Practitioner Director

Peter is a qualified legal practitioner with over twenty years of experience, predominantly in family law. Peter began his career with Clayton Utz before moving into suburban practice in 2007 with a focus on family law settlements.

Peter began his practice, Peter Andrews Lawyer Pty Ltd, in 2013. After many years of success, the business was rebranded Andrews Family Lawyers in 2022.
Peter is a married father of three young, intelligent and often annoying children who are still lovely.

Trusted By Our Clients

With a proven track record in resolving complex family law issues, we've earned the confidence and trust of families across north Brisbane.

Peter Andrews was so helpful resolving an odd property dispute with an ex partner. He listened without judgement and acted quickly to resolve the matter, I honestly could not have copied without him, an absolute godsend!! Thank you Peter!

Lauren Myslinski CLIENT

Peter is an outstanding lawyer, with the knowledge, experience and stamina to succeed in family law matters. Would highly recommend his services to anyone who needs to achieve a successful outcome in their proceedings.

Fabio Mazza CLIENT

Divorce Lawyers Brisbane Expert Guidance

Professional family law services are crucial if you’re contemplating or facing a divorce. At Andrews Family Lawyers, we specialise in divorce applications and can guide you through this challenging time. Contact us today for a consultation.

Our Process

Planning The Case
  • Initial Consultation: Meet with the client to understand their specific needs and concerns.
  • Legal Research: Conduct thorough research to understand the legal implications of the case.
  • Strategy Development: Develop a comprehensive strategy tailored to the client’s situation.
Detailly Evaluate Situation
  • Financial Assessment: Review all financial documents and assets involved.
  • Parenting Assessment: If children are involved, evaluate the best interests of the child.
  • Risk Analysis: Identify any potential risks or challenges that may arise during the case.
File Case To The Court
  • Documentation: Prepare all necessary legal documents, such as petitions, affidavits, and financial disclosures.
  • Filing: Submit the case to the appropriate court jurisdiction.
  • Court Appearances: Represent the client in court hearings and negotiations.

Let Us Help You !

We’re here to provide expert guidance and support for your legal needs.

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