No-Fault Divorce in Australia: How Does It Work?

In 1975, Australia instituted the no-fault divorce clause in the 1975 Family Law Act. With this law, couples considering divorce do not have to worry about who is at fault for the marriage’s end. If you have questions about no-fault divorce in Australia, Melbourne family lawyers can help. 

No-Fault Divorce in Australia: How Does It Work?
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What is a No-Fault Divorce?

In Australia, couples considering divorce don’t need to prove that one party has caused the marriage to fall apart. Before the 1975 Family Law Act, couples could blame each other for their marriage’s collapse. They could use evidentiary causes like insanity, adultery, or other irreconcilable differences. 

When the Family Law Act was enacted, the reasons for divorce changed. Now, couples only have to prove to the court they’ve been separated for a year. Once they show they’ve been separated for a year, the court will grant the divorce. 

Why No-Fault Divorce Became a Law in Australia?

Before the 1975 Family Law Act, divorces in Australia were more about spying on spouses and catching them doing nefarious things. Suspicious partners hired private investigators who worked hard to find reasons for partners to use character assassinations in court. Hostility ruled the day in family court. 

Partners tried to discredit their spouses even after they were separated. They used any information they could to prove that they deserved more money and time with their children because their spouses were negligent, unethical, and violent. Lawmakers saw the need to remove the negativity that was affecting the children and adults in divorces and separations, so they created the Family Law Act. 

How No-Fault Divorces Help Couples

No-fault divorces keep partners from having to prove their spouse’s negative traits and behaviors. Divorces are ugly, to begin with, and no-fault divorces take away some of the ugliness. No-fault proceedings help couples reduce the hostility so couples can work together to make decisions about parenting, finances, and other important matters. 

This law makes divorces less stressful and emotional so couples can behave rationally. They can make decisions that help their children, rather than making decisions that hurt each other. 

Do Judges Still Consider Causation for Parenting Decisions?

While couples do not need to blame each other to receive a divorce ruling, they can still use character when it comes to parenting arrangements. Judges will consider mental illness, domestic violence, and other potentially dangerous situations before awarding custody. Lawyers work as mediators between their clients and judges. 

How Do You Become Eligible for a No-Fault Divorce?

No-fault divorces have three eligibility requirements. The first is the formal separation for one year. The second is that one partner in the marriage needs to be an Australian resident. Finally, the parties have safe and appropriate arrangements for their children under the age of 18. 

Interestingly, the separation can include couples still living under the same roof. Under this condition, partners will have to show they aren’t sleeping in the same room, and they are not doing any household chores for each other. They can share a roof, but nothing else. 

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