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Complex Divorce Cases

At Surge Legal we frequently deal with all kinds of divorce matters ranging from standard applications to complex matters, even matters where our clients had been previously incorrectly advised by another lawyer that obtaining a divorce order is simply not possible.

One of such cases is summarized below for our readers:

A client contacted our office seeking a second opinion in relation to her proposed Divorce Application. She said that she was desperate, as she had been previously advised by another city law firm that applying for a divorce in her circumstances was not possible. She had been informed that due to her temporary visa in Australia and her former partner being in China, she would not be able to apply for a divorce. Making the matter more complex was that our client did not have a copy of Marriage Certificate and was unable to obtain same through Chinese embassy.

We explained to our client that the type of visa she had was irrelevant, as long as she had lawfully stayed in Australia for the previous 12 months, which she did. Her former partner being overseas simply meant that her Divorce Application had to be served overseas, and did not preclude her from proceeding with her divorce matter. We also explained to our client that it was still possible to proceed with her application, provided a proper Affidavit is prepared in support of her application explaining why she cannot obtain a copy of the marriage certificate. Our client organized for her family member to assist with the service of documents in China to save costs and we successfully obtained a divorce order for our client.

This case illustrates that obtaining a second opinion in relation to your Divorce matter be the difference between success and failure.

Before considering applying for a divorce, there are some basic requirements that need to be met.

Firstly, it is essential that you

  • regard Australia as your home and intend to live in Australia indefinitely, or

  • are an Australian citizen by birth, descent or by grant of Australian citizenship, or

  • ordinarily live in Australia and have done so for 12 months immediately before filing for divorce

Secondly, you need to have been separated from your partner for at least 12 months. It is important to note that you can be separated and still live in the same household.

You should also have a copy of your marriage certificate. If you were married in Australia, a simple marriage certificate issued by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages is sufficient. However, in some cases we have handled, the parties have a foreign marriage certificate, which would need to be translated into English by a NAATI certified interpreter and an Affidavit of Translation must also be provided to the Court. At Surge Legal, we will assist if you hold a foreign marriage certificate and will guide you through every step of the process.

For a detailed overview of the eligibility requirements and the required steps to obtain a divorce order we recommend that you also refer to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia website.

It is possible that if you have travelled from overseas and may not have a marriage certificate in your possession. Surge Legal will be able to assist you in a divorce matter where you do not have a copy of your marriage certificate available to be filed with the Court.

What if you find yourself in the position that you want a divorce, but can’t find your spouse? The Divorce Lawyers at Surge Legal will follow all legal protocols to ensure you can file for your divorce even if you can’t locate your spouse.

Have you had your divorce application pushed back because you’ve changed your name since marriage? This may make your Divorce more complex than necessary. We can help you draft and file an affidavit explaining to the court why you have changed your name since being married.

Maybe the matter is even more complex than the above. Regardless of your circumstances, provided you can meet the first two eligibility requirements described above, we encourage you to contact our office on 02 8722 5021 to obtain free initial legal advice on your matter.


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