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What Is a No-Fault Divorce?

May 11, 2022

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Unlike in countries like England and Wales, the divorce process in Australia is simplified when there’s a no-fault claim. Here are some of the basic aspects of no-fault divorce.

Divorce legislation has changed a lot over the years, especially in countries like Australia. Today, Australian divorce occurs when a marriage is irretrievably broken, demonstrated by a couple’s twelve-month separation. But sometimes, facts occur that both parties agree to as being “no-fault,” in which case the divorce can happen sooner.

Getting Divorced? Here’s What You Need to Know

Thanks to attorneys like Forte family lawyers, we can clearly understand Australian no-fault divorce law changes. In summary, the essential components include:

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What Is a No-Fault Divorce?

  • Proving a marriage is broken once required five facts (such as adultery, unreasonable behaviour, etc.), but this is no longer necessary.
  • Divorce applications can be disputed because of jurisdiction, marriage validity questions, or a prior cause of ending a marriage legally.
  • In multiple legal sectors, old laws have outdated wording and terminology. Divorce petitions are applications, and other terms have changed to modernise the laws.
  • A divorce must go through a 20-week waiting period from the court’s application date until the decree of divorce is made official via a conditional order. However, there is also a six-week waiting period that must be met between the conditional order and the final order, making it 26 weeks.
  • Spouses can apply jointly for a divorce. This demonstrates to the court that both parties have agreed that the marriage is irretrievably broken. When this happens, both individuals are the applicants, and the process is quicker since serving the petition, and other requirements are no longer necessary.
  • Joint applications can turn into sole applications should one party change their mind.
  • In the post-COVID world, we’ve had to adjust to doing as much online as possible. In divorce proceedings, this means that certain aspects can now be performed online. If the divorce includes legal representation, the online divorce portal offered by the courts must be used to file the necessary forms. In-person filers without representation can use the mail system instead.
  • Divorce applications must be served to the other party within 28 days from court issuance. In the past, there were no deadlines, so one party could be blindsided by the papers or avoid the process server if they were trying to dispute the divorce.
  • Email is a newly permitted method of serving divorce applications. Instead of in-person services, emailed applications are the default form of notifying a party of a divorce application. These applications must be followed by a mailed notice, as well.
  • No-fault divorces tend to be cheaper than contested divorces, particularly if no legal representation is involved. Still, the process is complicated, and it’s easier and often more cost-effective to use a family lawyer. Seeking costs for the divorce is complex, and judges rarely order that a respondent pays for the applicant’s costs. 
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With these changes to the divorce proceedings, applicants will be pleased to know that their request to end a marriage won’t need to be explained in depth. The no-fault divorce makes the process easier and cheaper, but dealing with the court and legal system is never easy. Consider getting a family lawyer to help you through the paperwork and deadlines. Consider getting a family lawyer to help you through the paperwork and deadlines.

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