Divorce counselling for marriages less than 2 years
If you want a divorce for your marriage that has lasted less than 2 years, the Australian Law requires that prior to the Divorce Application, you and your spouse must attend divorce counselling with a family or nominated counsellor. This is to discuss the possibility of reconciliation.
If you require assistance in finding a counsellor, you can go to:
- familyrelationships.gov.au, or
- call 1800 050 321
NOTE: It is important that the counsellor you choose is qualified to complete a counselling certificate issued by the Court. This certificate confirms that the counsellor has discussed the possibility of reconciliation with you and your spouse.
When you file for divorce, you will need to attach the completed counselling certificate to the back of the Divorce Application.
Do I have to attend divorce counselling?
Sometimes you may not find it possible to attend counselling with your spouse.
If you do not attend counselling, you must seek the Court’s permission to apply for a divorce.
You can do this by filing an affidavit with your application to divorce, which is basically a written statement prepared by a witness or party. This is used to present facts of the case to a Court and it must be sworn in front of a person such as a lawyer or a Justice of the Peace.
Your affidavit must explain:
- Why you and your spouse have not attended counselling
- This can include not being able to locate your spouse, or if your spouse refuses to go. You must detail your attempts to find them or give notice inviting them to counselling.
- Any ‘special circumstances’ of your case
- For example, a special circumstance could be where there is a history of domestic abuse in the marriage and it would be dangerous for you to attend counselling with your spouse.
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Principal of Justice Family Lawyers, Hayder specialises in complex parenting and property family law matters. He is based in Sydney and holds a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Communications from UTS.