Divorce & Separation

Separation & Divorce Lawyers in Melbourne

When considering a divorce or separation, most people will need a divorce lawyer to help them with the process. Family law disputes can become emotional and difficult, with a lot of uncertainty about what your rights, entitlements are and how the process works. Having a separation lawyer assist you during this time will help you navigate the process easily to reach a better outcome faster.

At PCL Lawyers, we are dedicated to providing you with easy-to-understand legal advice and assistance throughout the entire process. From the initial meeting where you are able to become familiar with your divorce lawyer to the final stages, we are here to support you at any or every step of the way. Even if you just require initial guidance or assurance we can provide relevant and concise advice about how the law applies to your separation.

What Should I Do After I Have Separated?

It is important to be as active as you can to sort out your financial and children’s matters. Financial matters can require careful consideration and skilled negotiation.

A divorce cannot be granted if you haven’t sorted your childrens’ matters and made appropriate plans for the care of your children. Property divisions can be settled after a divorce, but often are sorted out quite quickly and reasonably amicably in most cases.

Having your property entitlements sorted out early will help both parties to move on to make plans for your future with greater certainty. You may also need to act before the other party has an opportunity to remove or dilute the value assets that you may be entitled to.

Seeking advice from experienced divorce lawyers is key to making well advised decisions. Getting legal advice will help you form a strategy and know what to expect next.

Appointing a good divorce lawyer in Melbourne will give you the peace of mind that your matter is being handled correctly and efficiently. They will be alive to any potential issues and have a detailed understanding of the family court procedures to navigate you through the legal process to reach the most favourable settlement quickly.

Getting clarity about your financial future will help remove the stressful unknowns about your future and entitlements.

There are three main areas to think about when you separate:

Each area requires a different approach. Our divorce and separation lawyers will help you with each of these areas so that you can make a clear and informed decision.

If you and your former partner are not able to reach agreement on your division of assets or your children’s matters, you may need to apply to the Federal Circuit Family Court of Australia (FCFCOA or  family court).

These matters must be dealt with separately, and children’s matters must be dealt with to the satisfaction of the Family Court before they will grant a divorce.

We can help you negotiate an agreement privately or through mediation, and, if necessary, the Family Court. Our divorce lawyers in Melbourne have significant experience in all aspects of family law litigation. This can range from mediation to court appearances, engaging experts to provide family reports and advise you accordingly.

We appreciate that this is a difficult time. With our easy-to-understand approach and our commercial attitude, we can help guide you through your separation.

De Facto Relationships

When partners in de facto relationships are separating, it is different in that a divorce is not required to be applied for. In this case, you will seek to settle your financial settlement as part of your de facto separation and children’s matters if you have any children.

For a court to decide on property settlement after a de facto breakdown, you must satisfy the court’s criteria. The court has a longer list, but here are the most typical criteria:

  • Must be in a genuine de facto relationship that has broken down
  • One of the following applies to you:
    1. Must have lived together for at least two years
    2. There is a child in the de facto relationship
    3. The relationship is or was registered under a prescribed law in Australia
    4. When assessing property or custodial claims after the breakdown of the relationship, it is recognised that there have been significant financial contributions made by one party, and the failure to issue an order would result in a serious injustice

The full criteria can be viewed here.

Divorce Application Timeline

You can apply for a divorce after being married for over two years and separated for over 12 months. The court will not look at why the marriage has ended.

Many people will obtain legal advice about the divorce application process to ensure that the application is correct. The application needs to be also served on the parties correctly to avoid being delayed.

For couples looking to separate that haven’t been married for more than two years, they can apply for a counselling certificate with the Family Court. This means that you must attend counselling and look to resolve the issues in the marriage. If your partner won’t attend counselling, then an affidavit must be prepared and filed with the application. A divorce lawyer will be able to assist with this process and advise you on the requirements of the court for divorce counselling in Melbourne.

Separated But Still Living Together?

For those that separate and live together, this is called “separation under the one roof”. The courts will recognise this arrangement as valid, however you will need to prove that this is the case if your partner disagrees and contests the dates.

You should obtain legal advice on this issue, as it may become a disputed issue later on if one party becomes aggrieved.

What is the Divorce Application Process?

Once the application for divorce is made and filed at court, your former partner must be served with the application. They will have a right to respond and may file a response if they disagree with the facts.

They do not have to agree to a divorce or consent for you to obtain a divorce, but the court process must be carefully followed for a divorce to be granted. This is particularly true in cases where there is a difficult or uncooperative partner.

At the hearing date, the court will consider the application made and if your former partner has been served. Once the application is granted, the court will make a divorce order available to us in one month and one day from the hearing date, after which time your divorce lawyer will provide the order to you.

This divorce order officially means that the marriage is over.

How We Can Help

We provide professional and quality legal advice to our clients for all family law matters. Whatever stage you are at in your separation or divorce, our separation lawyers in Melbourne can assist and provide tailored advice. We work with our clients to have their family matters resolved as quickly as possible.

Divorce & Separation for Business Owners or Complex Property Pools

We have a unique advantage for clients with businesses and complex asset pools in that we have a deep understanding of commercial and property matters that can assist in resolving your matter. This is particularly helpful where parties with family businesses or partnerships are divorcing or separating.


How long after marriage can I get a divorce?
How long separated before divorce in Australia?
What am I entitled to in a divorce in Australia?
How do you separate assets when separating?
Do you need a lawyer to divorce?
What is my wife entitled to in a divorce in Australia?
Does adultery affect divorce in Australia?

How long after marriage can I get a divorce?

You will need to be married for at least two years before you can file for a divorce. You can apply for a counselling certificate from the court and this will help the court to decide if you can apply for a divorce earlier than the two years. You will have to attend divorce counselling in Melbourne and obtain a certificate, or if one partner does not participate, you will need to have an affidavit prepared.

How long separated before divorce in Australia?

You will need to be separated for over 12 months before you can apply for a divorce. If you live together under the same roof, you may need to provide evidence that you have been separated for the 12 months while still living together.

What am I entitled to in a divorce in Australia?

Divorce is a separate process to a financial settlement, and each relationship’s assets and debts will be divided differently depending on many factors. Some factors considered are length of marriage, earning capacity, children and maintenance of children, health and age. To understand what you are entitled to, you will need to seek legal advice to discuss your financial situation. Each financial settlement is different and can be difficult to assess, so it is best not to compare with friends or family and instead seek advice from a legal separation lawyer.

How do you separate assets when separating?

Division of assets will be negotiated through what is called a property settlement in family law. You can do this yourselves, although it is hard for most to work out what they are entitled to. If you can’t agree, you can also go through mediation or ultimately court. A divorce lawyer can help advise you as little or as much as you wish in preparing financial settlements. For it to be binding, you will need to prepare a binding financial agreement, and each party must obtain independent legal advice. Alternatively, you may be seeking spousal maintenance or a court order to divide the assets between you.

Do you need a lawyer to divorce?

You don’t need a lawyer to obtain a divorce, but you may need advice as you will be engaging in a court process and there are strict rules about applications, affidavits and responses and how these are filed. If you do not follow the court procedures and rules, you can make the timeframe longer and make the process more complicated.

What is my wife entitled to in a divorce in Australia?

Each property split is calculated differently for each couple, and you will need professional advice to determine what you or your wife are entitled to in a divorce. There are no two identical property splits. Generally speaking, the longer the marriage, the closer there is to a 50/50 asset split, however there are many factors that can mean one person gets more than another, such as earning capacity, health, children, age, inheritance or gifts and many other factors. Read the full list on what a court considers when deciding on financial settlements for separating couples here.

Does adultery affect divorce in Australia?

No, adultery isn’t considered in your divorce proceedings. Australia introduced “no fault” divorce in 1975, which means the reason why you are divorcing is not considered by the court. The Court only needs to be satisfied that the marriage is finished and that you won’t be reconciling the relationship.

Speak to Our Divorce Lawyers Today

If you need trusted advice regarding your divorce, arrange a divorce lawyer consultation today with PCL Lawyers. We can answer any questions you may have about the divorce process and provide tailored advice to guide you through your separation.

Articles And Resources

De Facto Separation – What to do after you separate from your de facto partner.
When going through the process of separation it can be quite a difficult time. In Australia de facto relationships and...
What am I (or my) de facto entitled to after separation?
De Facto couple separations are considered the same as financial separations for married couples. The Court assesses how assets are...

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