Managing legal battles with family

Facts About No-Fault Divorce

The historical fault system of divorce meant that married couples could only separate if one party proved that the other partner's actions caused an irredeemable breakdown of the union. Therefore, even couples who agreed to divorce amicably had to fabricate faults such as adultery or violence. Unfortunately, the old system made divorce adversarial if you consider that it often resulted in favourable outcomes regarding property settlement for the 'not at fault' party. Consequently, the Australian government introduced the 'no-fault' divorce system. Here, a couple only needs to prove that their marriage has permanently broken down. This article highlights critical facts about no-fault divorce.

A Separation Period Is Enough

One of the hallmarks of the no-fault divorce system is that spouses do not need to produce evidence, even if it exists, for a family court's approval. However, it does not mean that couples can wake up one day and walk to court to file a no-fault divorce. Instead, you must prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down for a judge to approve your divorce. Under the no-fault divorce system, a significant separation period is enough evidence that your marriage has completely broken down. Therefore, even if you live under the same roof and can demonstrate that you have been living separate lives, it is enough for a court to grant you a divorce.   

Joint Divorce Applications Acceptable

Under the 'no-fault' system, only one partner could apply for divorce primarily because there had to be an 'at fault' party. Even if couples agreed to go their separate ways, they still had to decide who would file for divorce. However, it is not the case with the no-fault divorce system because both spouses can apply for divorce to reflect their agreement that their marriage has irretrievably broken down. It is beneficial because the family court treats each spouse as an applicant and not as an applicant and respondent under the old system. Besides, the procedure for joint applications is less complicated because either party does not need to serve the other with a divorce petition.

Convert Joint Applications to Sole Applications

The no-fault divorce system allows spouses to file joint divorce applications with a family court. However, there are instances when one partner no longer wants to proceed with a divorce process as a joint applicant. The law allows the remaining partner to convert the joint application into a sole application in such a case. Some people believe that such conversion would need an amendment to the original joint divorce application. However, it is not the case because the remaining partner only needs to apply for a conditional or final divorce without adjusting the original joint application. The provision results in a smooth and inexpensive divorce process.

For more information about family law, contact a local lawyer.