Can You Apply For A Divorce If You’ve Been Married For Less Than Two Years?

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Can You Apply For A Divorce If You've Been Married For Less Than Two Years?

30th June 2020

When people enter into a marriage, most enter into with the intention of being together forever. Inevitably though, “forever” is not always the case, with one in three Australian couples seeking a divorce. In addition, the largest group of those who do indeed divorce are those who’ve been married less than 9 years. We’ve shared some broad legal advice regarding divorce in Australia before. But, what if you’ve only been married a year or two, or even just a few months and you decide you’re not right for each other? There are specific legal requirements you will need to meet if this is the case. We share some things you need to know when you’re seeking a divorce but have been married less than two years.

What Does The Law Say About Applying For Divorce After Less Than 2 Years of Marriage?

The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) regulates divorces.

Section 44(1B) Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) says that for divorce applications filed within 2 years of the marriage date, there must be a certificate filed alongside it.

This certificate needs to state that parties to the marriage have considered reconciliation via the assistance of a specified person (family counsellor or consultant appointed by the courts), and this certificate needs to be signed by that person, or on behalf of the organisation.

There are some specific circumstances, however, where couples counselling is not required.

When is Two Years Calculated From?

The two years is calculated from the date of the commencement of the marriage, to the date of filing for divorce.

To be able to apply for a divorce, you and your spouse must also have been separated for at least 12 months.

The two-year period can also include your period of separation. For example, if you decide to separate one month into your marriage, you can apply for a divorce 13 months from the date of your marriage.

What Constitutes a Special Circumstance?

There are a number of instances whereby you do not have to meet the requirement of having considered reconciliation or undergone counselling if you’re seeking a divorce and have been married less than two years.

This might be if your partner refuses to go to counselling or does not respond to your requests for counselling, or it might be that there is a history of abuse in the marriage and it would not be safe for you to attend counselling together.

In this instance, you will be required to provide an affidavit presenting evidence as to why you have not attended counselling and any special circumstances of your case. It can sometimes be difficult to get permission from the courts if you’ve been married less than two years and seeking a divorce, so we do always recommend talking to a lawyer prior to applying. Our team at Pullos Lawyers can assist you with preparing and authorising your affidavit, as well as providing you with legal advice specific to your circumstances.

Are You Seeking a Divorce and Have Been Married Less than 2 Years?

If you are considering a divorce, Pullos Lawyers are here to help you navigate through this emotionally difficult and complex time of your life. Our team of family lawyers can help you with filing your divorce application, preparing your affidavit, guiding you through the process, and ultimately, provide you with the advice to simplify the process and minimise stress. We can also assist with a range of matters including De Facto & Same Sex Law, Spousal Maintenance, and International Family Law. Please get in touch via email, or call us in our Gold Coast office on (07) 5526 3646, or our Brisbane office on (07) 3144 1641.

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