Divorce and de facto Separation

The ending of a marriage or de facto relationship can be an emotional and stressful time. The compassion and integrity of our team at Waters Lawyers, coupled with our extensive experience, will ensure your comfort and confidence throughout the entire process.

You must have been separated from your spouse for a period of twelve months to apply for a divorce. You can still be living together during this time, however you will be required to provide additional evidence to the Court to prove your separation.

Once the application is filed, anyone other than you must personally hand the court documents to your spouse 28 days before the divorce hearing. If they refuse to accept the documentation, they can be placed on the ground in their presence. When the divorce application is approved, the Court will order the termination of your marriage to be effective after a further one month and one day.

If not married, two people who have lived together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis automatically become classified as a de facto relationship according to Australian law.

Although no formal process (such as divorce) is necessary to end a de facto relationship, you may need to divide property, assets and debts. We find that many of our clients are surprised by what they are entitled to or what they are required to share.

In many cases, the division of property, assets and debts can be finalised with a financial agreement or a consent order formalised by the court. This is a legally binding contract that dictates how both parties of a separated de facto relationship have agreed to divide their assets and finances. Financial agreements must have a lawyer involved, otherwise there is no legal effect to the document and either party may be undermined in future. They must also be completed within two years of ending the relationship.

Although this document isn’t a legal obligation to end the relationship, it provides financial protection for both parties and helps to avoid future disagreements.

If you and your spouse have children under the age of 18, a short hearing will take place whereby a court officer will ensure there is a proper arrangement in place to care for the children. For more information, see Child Custody Matters


Standard divorce – no children involved
Waters Lawyers fee: $880
Court fee: $990 ($330 with healthcare card)
Process server: approximately $220 (however this can vary slightly)

Standard divorce – with children
Waters Lawyers fee: $1,100
Court fee: $990 ($330 with healthcare card)
Process server: approximately $220 (however this can vary slightly)

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Our expert team of lawyers and conveyancers are dedicated to achieving the best possible outcomes for their clients. Priding ourselves on honesty and integrity, we always provide an evaluation of your matter during our complementary first consultation. By managing your expectations from the beginning, we ensure you are aware of the likely outcome, any associated risks, and the anticipated cost.

Your first consultation is free