The A- Z of Family Law

In this week’s series on the A – Z of Family Law, Georgia takes a look at the letter D, covering the topics of Divorce and Disclosure.

Divorce

To be eligible for Divorce and for a Divorce Order to be granted, the following matters have to be proved by the Applicant at the Divorce Hearing:

  1. Marriage – that there was a valid marriage recognised in Australia, usually proven by tendering marriage certificate.
  2. Jurisdiction – that one or either of the parties has resided in Australia, is a citizen, or otherwise such that the Court is granted jurisdiction to deal with the matter.
  3. Irretrievable breakdown of marriage and no likelihood of resumption of the relationship; Usually proven by living separately and apart for not less than 12 months immediately preceding the date of filing.  But can also be by way of Affidavit evidence if you have been living separated under the one roof.
  4. Service – proven by reference to the Affidavit of service and/or the acknowledgement of receipt signed by the other side.
  5. Proper arrangements for the children of the marriage – Can file either a sole application or a joint (by consent) application. If a joint application, then this means service is not required and neither party (if they so elect) will be required to attend the Divorce Hearing and it will be heard in the Registrar’s Chambers in the absence of the parties.

The Divorce be granted on the day of the Divorce Hearing if all the requirements are satisfied. This will come into effect 1 month and 1 day thereafter.

Disclosure

There is a duty of disclosure in all family law matters which requires all parties to provide to the Court and each other party all other information relevant to an issue in the case.

It includes full and frank disclosure about your financial circumstances (which usually includes the provision of specified documents to the other) and in parenting matters all relevant information in relation to the children.

The duty of disclosure is ongoing and is required to be complied from the very commencement of your matter to the conclusion.

There are serious ramifications if parties do not provide disclosure including fines, the Court making assumptions and/or inferences about the documents that are not disclosed, and contempt of Court. Even if the matter is agreed to by consent, there is also the opportunity for a party to re-open the proceedings at a later date. This could happen if they find out that one party has not disclosed an asset or otherwise at the time of the proceedings that has resulted in a miscarriage of justice.

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