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Divorce laws in Australia & Divorce lawyers: Everything you need to know

Going through a divorce is certainly a stressful process which requires all parties to be knowledgeable about the laws within Australia and seek out appropriate divorce lawyers to assist throughout the development.

The Family Law act has helped the divorce process become a much simpler one. This act has allowed the ‘no fault’ divorce principle, which outlines how the only ground for ending a marriage is because of the relationship breaking down for a permanent time-frame. Both parties can apply for a divorce. However, when the case arises that one party is wanting to initiate the divorce, the other parties’ thoughts are not taken into consideration. If planning on applying for a divorce, it is best to talk to a divorce lawyer to understand the details and laws surrounding the process.

Criteria check

There are certain criteria one must comply with when applying for a divorce. These can be further discussed with different divorce lawyers to gain a better understanding. A person can apply for a divorce if they consider Australia as their home, are living in the country permanently, if they are an Australian citizen by birth/descent or live in Australia and have for the past year before the filing of the divorce.

One of the key measures which will grant a divorce application is being able to prove to the court that both parties have been living separately for the past twelve months as well as no probability of the parties working on their relationship. It is also possible to live together and be separated. This requires witness evidence and proof from the parties that they do not behave like a married couple. Both parties should no longer share the same bed, carry on with household chores together or socialise with one another in a friendly manner. Divorce lawyers in Sydney will be able to assist in understanding the situation a person is in, as well as providing them with quality advice.

Filing for a divorce

When applying for a divorce, either party can apply for one if separated for more that 12 months. A divorce kit is available at the Family and Magistrates court. Divorce lawyers can assist in applying and obtaining the divorce kit. In the case that the divorce application is only made by one party, the serving of the divorce application can be one by anyone 18 years or over or a professional process server.

The party who has filed for the divorce does not have to personally serve the papers to the opposing party. There are also cases where the opposing party declines the documents. If this is the situation a person delivering the papers is faced in, they are permitted to place the document down in their presence stating who is seeking the divorce, showing the papers and notifying them about court procedures/dates for a hearing. Immediately after this had occurred, the person who served the documents is required to fill out a sworn affidavit with the time, date and place of service in front of a divorce lawyer/other solicitor/justice of peace.

A signature can also be obtained from the other party, acknowledging that they have been served. Divorce lawyers in Sydney should be at your beck and call if the situation starts to become complex and assistance is required.

Divorce opposed

Sometimes a divorce can start to get messy if the conflicting party wants to oppose the divorce. This can only be done if the couple has been separated for more than 12 months, or in the case that the court does not have jurisdiction. If this is the case and one does not want the divorce to be granted, a response to divorce application must be filled out and appearance on the hearing date is required. Simply filling out the response to divorce file is not enough. The grounds for seeking dismissal is required. This should be done within 28 days of being served if in Australia or 42 days, if served outside of Australia. Speaking to a divorce lawyer in Sydney is recommended if placed in this situation.

In the instance where the divorce was decided by both parties with no children under the age of 18 involved, the couple does not have to attend court proceedings. The marriage is usually dissolved through a quick hearing.

Tips …

A divorce does not just end there. Other issues start to arise after a marriage has ended which includes the separation of property, assets and children. These issues are often more complicated and require one to seek assistance from divorce lawyers. There are endless options when it comes to choosing divorce lawyers within Sydney. Selecting one that has your best interests at heart and understands your needs is crucial.

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I’ve been enjoying the fantastic weather and juggling writing with being a Butlin’s Redcoat for my own kids on holiday from school, and it got me thinking about the way I communicate with my kids.

Communication can dry up during adolescence which is why people identify so much with Harry Enfield’s Kevin and Perry characters and that’s why the teenage stage has often been called the “grunt stage” but communication is a two-way process. It’s what we want and think, and what our teenagers want and think. Most of us are great at talking but less good at listening and understanding and we often only half listen to our kids.

Here are some classic ways to switch off your teenager:

Asking too many questions

“Why did you say that?” “What did you say?”

Being bossy

“Do your homework right now and don’t argue”


“You should know better at your age”


“How could you be so stupid?”


“I’m so sorry for you, you poor thing”

Rescuing – doing it for them

“Alright, I’ll do your homework for you so you don’t get into trouble”

Jumping to conclusions

“Late again! I suppose you’ve been up to no good getting back at this hour!”

Threatening and shouting

“If you don’t shape up you’re grounded for a week”

Always knowing best

“I told you that would happen, didn’t I!”

Most of us find ourselves lecturing, ordering and jumping to conclusions or even threatening our teenagers but if we always presume the worst and speak to our kids like this we block communication.

And, effective communication is the oil that lubricates a good family and builds a lasting relationship between teenagers and their parents.

Here are some Positive Parent Tips for good communication:

  • Remain silent most of the time!
  • Be aware and sensitive to your child’s body language, e.g. whether they look disappointed, worried, angry, excited, pleased etc…..
  • Show you are really listening by saying “I see, uh-huh and mmm” occasionally, and looking into their eyes without just staring to maintain good eye contact
  • Reflect back the gist of what they have said to you to check you have understood them clearly
  • Avoid giving advice or offering suggestions (Tough, I know, but believe me this one REALLY works)
  • Show your teenager by the tone of your voice and body language that you really respect and care and are genuinely trying to understand where they are coming from.

It’s worth remembering that most teenagers don’t like face to face chats. So it’s easier if you are doing something else at the time like emptying the dishwasher, driving them to a football practise or peeling the potatoes.

Often they like to talk when you’ve just settled down with a cup of coffee to watch your favourite TV programme or just climbed into bed exhausted or just run a lovely hot bath, but these can be the “Golden Moments” – the deep and meaningful chats – the ones that connect you to your kids and help bridge the gap of empathy.

So, go with the flow and keep remembering the bigger picture to your parenting – bringing up the happy, confident, well-balanced teenager; tomorrow’s adult – tomorrow’s parent.

Learn, laugh and enjoy the adventure!

Author Bio:

Sue Atkins is an internationally recognised Parenting Expert, Broadcaster, Speaker and Author of the Amazon best-selling books “Parenting Made Easy – How to Raise Happy Children” & “Raising Happy Children for Dummies" one in the famous black and yellow series as well as author of the highly acclaimed Parenting Made Easy CDs & MP3s.

Sue offers practical guidance for bringing up happy, confident, resilient children from toddler to teen.

She specialises in supporting families through divorce & has created a series of Divorce Cards to help start the difficult conversations about the changes that families face when they are going through divorce. These simple cards help children and parents explore, express and prepare for the changes and challenges ahead.

She regularly appears on the award winning flagship ITV show “This Morning” and Sky News and is the parenting expert for many BBC Radio Stations throughout the UK including talkRADIO where she does a regular weekly parenting round up of stories in the news on The Eamonn Holmes Drive Time Show. Her parenting articles are published all over the world.

To receive her free eBooks, eCourses, Webinars & weekly podcasts bursting with practical tips and helpful advice from toddler to teen log on to www.theSueAtkins.com and join her Parenting Club today.

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