By Vanessa MacDonald
These days with everything available on the internet, it is no surprise to see the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia have offered a service for filing Applications for Divorce on-line.
The on-line version has the same questions as the hardcopy Divorce Application. However, the on-line Divorce Application is designed to be faster and easier to complete, and provides instructions to help you complete the form accurately.
A time saving benefit of the online Divorce Application is that it only requires you to fill out the questions applicable to your situation and hides questions that are not applicable. For example, if you indicate there are no children of the marriage, further questions relating to children will not appear in the form.
It is free to access and complete the on-line Divorce Application but you are still required to pay the standard court filing fee when you file the Divorce Application with the Court. Anyone can access the application on-line at www.divorce.gov.au.
You should allow several months from the time you file for divorce to the actual date of divorce and if there are problems with your application it may take longer. If you plan to remarry you should allow plenty of time as you cannot remarry until the divorce order is made final.
You can apply for a divorce either as a sole or joint applicant. If you are a sole applicant, you will need to serve the Application for Divorce on your spouse. The Federal Magistrates Court website also provides an on-line Divorce Service Kit that explains how to serve the Divorce Application and includes the forms that you may require.
Why come to a solicitor?
There are many reasons people still wish to have their solicitor make a Divorce Application on their behalf. Even though the online application provides instructions, if you do not have specific legal training you might inadvertently provide the Court with the wrong information or fail to provide them with a document they require. This could cause lengthy delays and inconvenience for you. You also may require advice on whether you will begranted a divorce due to temporary reconciliation or living with your ex-spouse after the date of separation. You may also experience difficulties serving your
ex-spouse and may require assistance with this. Finally, there may be children involved and in that case, the parent making the application is required to attend Court on the day the Divorce Application is being heard. Some clients may be daunted by attending Court and appearing before a Judge or Registrar. Often clients feel more comfortable having their solicitor represent them in Court and answer any questions the Judge/Registrar may have.
On-line divorces may appear simple but in situations where you are not certain, it is best to obtain advice from a solicitor who is knowledgeable in the area of family law to fully explain to you your legal rights and responsibilities, and avoid any lengthy delays.