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The divorce process


Dissolving a Civil Marriage – this needs to be dissolved by a court. You can only get a divorce if you show the court that there has been an "irretrievable breakdown" of the marriage or that one of the spouses is mentally ill or continuously unconscious.

Irretrievable breakdown means that the couple can no longer live together and there is no reasonable chance of them resolving their differences. Proof of this can include evidence showing that: the couple have not lived together for a while; one partner cheated on the other; one partner left the other; one partner abused the other; and / or the couple no longer love each other.

You can get a divorce if your partner has been institutionalised for mental illness for at least two years and doctors don't think that they will ever recover. You can get divorced if your partner has been unconscious for at least six months and doctors don't believe that they will ever recover.

If you want to ask the court to issue a divorce you need to prepare a summons dealing with: who will have custody of the children; how the parent who does not have custody will access the children; who will receive maintenance, how much it will be and how and when it will be paid; and how your property will be divided up.

If you and your partner can reach a settlement agreement before the summons is issued, this will make the process much quicker and easier. If you reach an agreement, you should write it down and sign it. This consent paper should then be attached to the divorce summons. A hearing date will be set. At this hearing, the judge will ask questions to confirm the information in the summons. Once everything is settled, a divorce order will be granted.

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