What You Should Know About Serving Divorce Papers In Queensland

Once a legal marriage has reached a point of irreversible breakdown, it’s time to file for divorce. Filing for divorce is a legal process in order to separate yourself and your property from your spouse. It can seem daunting at first, which is why our expert Family Lawyers have put together a guide to the first step; serving divorce papers. Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of serving divorce papers in Queensland.


How Does Divorce Work in Australia?

In Australia, the legal dissolution of marriage is organised by getting a divorce. The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia is responsible for granting divorce under Part IV of the Family Law Act 1975. In addition, the court granting a divorce does not determine financial support, property division and parenting arrangements.


Reasons For Divorce

Australia has a 'no fault' divorce system. This means that when granting a divorce, the court does not evaluate the given reasons that the marriage has ended. The only grounds required for divorce is that one or more party agrees that the marriage has broken down and there is no reasonable chance of reconciliation.


Requirements For Divorce

There are some eligibility requirements that you need to qualify for in order to be able to apply for divorce. You must be an Australian citizen, or consider Australia your permanent residence, or have lived in Australia 12 months before applying for divorce. If you were married overseas, you must provide the marriage certificate. If it’s in another language, you must provide an English copy together with an affidavit translation of marriage certificate from a certified translator. You must also prove to the court that you and your spouse have been separated for 12 months, with no likelihood of repairing the marriage. You can still be separated from a partner and continue living in the same house. Same-sex couples are to meet the same requirements and are treated the same as other marriages. If you have children, the court expects to see suitable arrangements made for them, but will not give parenting orders.


Applying for Divorce

You can apply for divorce by yourself or with your spouse. If you make a sole application, you are known as the applicant, while your spouse is the respondent. In the case of a sole application, you must serve the divorce application to the other party. If you have been married less than 2 years, you will need a counselling certificate. There is a fee for filing divorce application, however you may eligible for a reduced fee if you hold a concession card or are experiencing financial hardship. You and your spouse must both qualify for a reduced fee for the full fee not to apply.


Serving Divorce Papers to Your Spouse

Serving divorce papers is a requirement to allow the respondent to be notified. If your spouse is in Australia, the divorce papers must be served at least 28 days before the court hearing. The papers must be served at least 42 days before the court hearing if the respondent is overseas. You can serve your divorce application either by post or by hand. If you are unable to locate your spouse after taking all reasonable steps to locate them, you can apply for an order to dispense with service.


Service By Post

You should send divorce papers to your spouse through the postal service if you are confident they will sign and return them. You need to send:

  • Application for divorce with the Notice of application attached to the front
  • A copy of Affidavit for eFiling
  • A copy of the Marriage, families and separation brochure
  • An Acknowledgement of service (Divorce)
  • A letter asking your spouse to sign the Acknowledgement of service and to keep a copy of the Application for divorce
  • Any other related documents
  • A stamped self-addressed envelope for the return of the divorce papers

If the documents are not returned signed, you will need to serve them by hand. You can ask the court to adjourn the matter if you need more time to serve the document by email.


Serving Divorce Papers by Hand

You must arrange an adult to serve the respondent. This can be a family member, friend or hired professional. You cannot serve divorce papers yourself. You will need to serve:

You can also serve your spouse's lawyer if they are willing to accept divorce papers.


Issues Serving Divorce Papers

If you are unable to appropriately serve the respondent with divorce papers you can apply to the court for a service with conditions or a dispensation. Service with conditions allows the divorce papers to be served to a suitable third party that the court is satisfied will reach the respondent. Dispensation of service is only granted in exceptional services and allows the court to dispense with the requirement of serving papers.


Can My Spouse Stop The Divorce?

Since Australia has a 'no fault' divorce system, your spouse can only oppose the divorce if there have not been 12 months of separation or if they argue that the court does not have jurisdiction to grant the divorce. The respondent can write a response to divorce and contest facts within the divorce papers. If they respond to the divorce papers, they must attend the hearing. In most situations, the divorce has been acknowledged by both parties and is likely to be granted after the hearing.


Seek Legal Advice On Serving Divorce Papers with Pullos Lawyers

If you are wanting to serve divorce papers on your spouse, have just been served, or are wanting to make parenting arrangements, get in touch with Pullos Lawyers. We can point you in the right direction in regards to Family Dispute Resolution and helping you apply for divorce. For any questions about separation and friendly, professional legal advice, contact Pullos Lawyers for renowned Family Law expertise.