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Joint vs Sole Divorce Application

Published on March 15, 2024

    About the Author

    Sandra Banjamin

    Sandra Benjamin has worked exclusively in family law both prior to and since her admission. Sandra’s passion stems from a deep desire to serve and support people. Sandra believes that the family unit plays a crucial role in society, and being able to help families navigate their legal matters is incredibly rewarding.

    Sandra Benjamin has worked exclusively in family law both prior to and since her admission. Sandra�... Read More

    Sandra Banjamin

    Author
    Sandra Benjamin has worked exclusively in family law both prior to and since her admission. Sandra’s passion stems from a deep desire to serve and support people. Sandra believes that the family unit plays a crucial role in society, and being able to help families navigate their legal matters is incredibly rewarding.

    A joint application for divorce is the consensual path many couples choose when parting ways.

    It’s an efficient first step in the divorce process – free from the stress of serving papers or solo court appearances.

    In this article, our divorce lawyers Sydney unpack the procedure for a joint divorce application, from eligibility to filing, giving you a clear blueprint to get your divorce started with minimal friction.

    Key Takeaways

    • In a joint divorce application, both spouses apply together, which streamlines the process, eliminating the need for serving documents.
    • A sole divorce application involves one spouse filing and serving the application, requiring the responding spouse to potentially contest the divorce and attend court hearings, making it more complex than a joint application.
    • Professional assistance from family lawyers is beneficial in navigating the complexities of divorce, ensuring legal compliance, and representing individuals in court if required.

    What is a joint divorce application?

    In a joint divorce application, both spouses, known as joint applicants, sign and file the application together. By doing so, they simplify the final hearing and remove the necessity for serving documents.

    The couple can proceed with a joint application for divorce when their marriage has ended with no reasonable likelihood of reconciliation and after a separation period of 12 months and 1 day. To initiate this process, they must apply for a divorce together.

    This cooperative method can make the divorce procedure easier as it removes the need to serve papers and both spouses are aware of what is occurring.

    When are you eligible for joint applicants?

    A couple can qualify for a joint application for divorce if they are legally married and have been separated for at least 12 months and 1 day. If the couple has been married for less than two years, they will likely require a counselling certificate or an affidavit in cases where they did not attend counselling.

    Is a joint application easier?

    Generally, joint applications are usually less complicated than sole applications. The cooperative nature of the process results in a streamlined hearing and eliminates the need to serve documents. This means both parties are part of the process from the beginning, eliminating the need for one party to serve the divorce papers to the other.

    It’s important to note that while both parties are aware of the divorce, which can make it easier, parenting and property matters that may need to be resolved as part of the divorce can cause conflict and complicate a divorce.

    How long does a joint application take?

    The timeline for a joint application is subject to individual circumstances. However, the divorce process typically follows this timeline:

    1. Submit the joint application.
    2. Wait for the court to review the application and schedule a divorce hearing.
    3. The divorce hearing is typically scheduled 4-8 weeks post-application.
    4. Use this time to prepare for the hearing and ensure all required documents are in order.

    Please note that this timeline may vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case.

    What is a sole application for divorce?

    A sole application for divorce is another option for applying for divorce in Australia and it takes a different course. Instead of a joint application, this one is filed by one spouse, the petitioner, who then bears the responsibility of serving the divorce application to the other party, the respondent. This option is often chosen when one spouse wants to divorce but the other does not, or when the spouses are not in agreement about the divorce or have lost contact.

    Once the application is served, the respondent has a specified period to file a response. This response can include contesting the divorce or specific claims made in the petition. Sole applications often require a court hearing, and the petitioner must attend, especially if there are children under 18 involved in the divorce. If the respondent does not file a response within the set timeframe, the divorce may be granted by default, assuming all other legal criteria are met.

    What is the difference between a joint and sole application for divorce?

    Although the ultimate objective of both joint and sole applications is identical – the legal termination of a marriage – their processes are distinctly different. The main differences lie in the filing process, service requirements, and court hearing procedures.

    A joint application involves both spouses from the start, thereby simplifying the process. The need to serve documents is eliminated and the final hearing is made more efficient.

    On the other hand, a sole application involves one spouse filing and serving the application to the other party, who then has the option to file a response. This process often requires a court hearing, making it more complex than a joint application.

    Additional FAQS about Joint and Sole Divorce Applications

     

    Below, we answer some of the common questions we’re asked about sole and joint divorce applications.

    What can you expect after filing a joint divorce application?

    Once a joint divorce application is filed, it undergoes a court review for compliance with filing requirements, and any errors are addressed directly with the applicants. Remember, in most cases, joint applicants are not required to attend court hearings or serve documents to each other.

    The divorce hearing is typically set for 4-8 weeks post-filing, and the court makes the final decision on the divorce on this date, with the presence of the applicants being optional.

    What happens when a divorce order is granted?

    After the court grants the divorce, it becomes finalised one month and one day later. Applicants are notified of the grant of divorce via the Commonwealth Courts portal.

    If children under 18 years are involved in the divorce, additional steps are required addressing their welfare as per the Family Law Act.

    What if we were married in a different country?

    If you were married in a different country and your marriage certificate is not in English, your marriage certificate must be translated by an accredited translator. This ensures that the document is accurately understood and recognised. The translated marriage certificate is then submitted with an affidavit from the translator attesting to the accuracy of the translation.

    If a marriage certificate is unobtainable, details of the marriage ceremony and evidence showing that the couple has been recognised as married after the ceremony must be provided through an affidavit.

    Can I get divorced if my spouse lives in another country?

    Divorce proceedings can be complex when one spouse lives internationally. In such cases, you may face extended service periods and additional complexities in the application process. If the spouse’s whereabouts are unknown, you can file for an order to dispense with or substitute service.

    We highly recommend seeking legal advice if you’re in this situation.

    Who can help with my divorce application?

    The complexities of divorce can be daunting. Even when both parties are in agreeance that divorce is the right step forward, it can still be emotional and stressful. Working with a family law professional can help to lessen the stress and ensure that your entire divorce process is managed properly.

    At Unified Lawyers, our family lawyers Australia can help you navigate your divorce. Whether you need help with filing an application you’re trying to figure out how to divide your assets, you have parenting matters to resolve, or you have no idea where to begin, we’re here for you.

    We have offices in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney, and our services are available Australia-wide. You can book a free consultation by calling us on 1800 667 461 or booking online using the button below.

    Sandra Banjamin

    Author
    Sandra Benjamin has worked exclusively in family law both prior to and since her admission. Sandra’s passion stems from a deep desire to serve and support people. Sandra believes that the family unit plays a crucial role in society, and being able to help families navigate their legal matters is incredibly rewarding.

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