Can I divorce without a lawyer?

can i divorce without a lawyer

It is very common for people to go through a divorce without enlisting the help of a lawyer. So, yes, you can get a divorce without a lawyer.

That being said, it is important to note that going through a divorce can be a trying time for an individual and a family. And if a divorce is going to be long, drawn-out, and emotionally draining, obtaining legal assistance can take a load off of your shoulders.

If you have decided to go through with your divorce without a lawyer, there are a few steps you need to be aware of. In this article, we highlight how to get through a divorce without a lawyer, what action steps you need to take and important forms that you’ll need to fill out.

 

Getting started with divorce proceedings on your own

 

Going through a divorce can be a really challenging time in a person’s life. But, it doesn’t always have to be. If your divorce is going to be reasonably straightforward and hassle free, divorcing without a lawyer will be easy enough.

So, if you’ve decided that your relationship has irretrievably broken down and there is no chance of resuming the relationship, you’ll need to start the divorce process by:

  • Filing a sole application (by yourself)
  • Filing a joint application (with your partner)

In the first section of the application (Part A Question 1) you will be asked to specify if you’re a sole or joint applicant. Make sure to check the correct option.

In sole applications, court attendance is not required unless there are children (under the age of 18 years) in the marriage.

For joint applications, court attendance is not required unless the applicants selects to attend in the application form (Question 2).

Before you start the process of divorce without a lawyer, it is important to be across these facts:

  • To be eligible to file a divorce application, you would have had to be separated for 12 months or longer. These 12 months don’t necessary have to be consecutive
  • If you’ve been separated and living under the same roof for 12 months, you will need to provide more evidence (including affidavits)
  • You need to have a marriage certificate
  • If you are filing a sole application, you will need to serve a divorce to your spouse
  • If you’ve been married less than 2 years, you will need to include a counselling certificate in your application
  • If there are children in the marriage, you will have to specify parenting arrangements (including living arrangements, after school care, financial support)
  • The divorce will cost you between $310 AUD – $940 AUD, depending on whether you’re eligible for a discounted fee
  • Divorce hearings are held electronically and if the time comes and you don’t have dial in details, email [Name of registry where divorce is taking place]@fcfcoa.gov.au (example: sydney@fcfcoa.gov.au) and enquire about them
  • Seeking financial and parenting orders are different to a divorce

Commonwealth Courts and E-filing

 

The best way to get a divorce without a lawyer is through the commonwealth courts portal. The portal is interactive and there will be prompts and directions to help you file a divorce application.

The first step is to get registered. The diagram below shows you where to click to start your registration as a new user.

Screen Shot 2022 01 14 at 7.02.32 pm - divorce without a lawyer

 

Once you’ve registered click on Start a new file to begin with the divorce proceedings. The FCFCOA website has a 16 step guide on how to to E-file on the commonwealth courts portal here

After filing a divorce application, the court might request further documentation – you will be able to do this on the commonwealth courts portal. Once you’ve submitted all the required documentation, the court will review the case.

Each case is different and some cases take more time to finalise than others. However, on average most divorces are finalised within 3 months of them being filed.

If you want to divorce without a lawyer, that is more than doable. What’s important is that you equip yourself with all the information that you need. Here’s a short list of resources to get you started:

If you’d like to reach out and have a confidential consultation with an expert, reach out to one of our lawyers here.

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