Getting A Divorce In Australia If You Were Married Overseas

Getting A Divorce In Australia If You Were Married Overseas

With the ever-increasing number of people who are choosing to live overseas, it is not uncommon to have couples from other countries living in Australia permanently. However, that does not make them immune from relationships turning sour, and should that couple decide to divorce, they will need help and advice from Perth family lawyers.

That would also be the case for couples who were born in Australia, got married here, and live here, but for those who were married overseas, getting divorced in Australia means that there may be some doubts in the minds of some of them as to how it can be done, and indeed to question if you can get be divorced in Australia if you were married overseas.

As any divorce lawyer will tell you, you can indeed get divorced in Australia if you were married overseas. However, as with any divorce, there are certain criteria that have to be met for the divorce to proceed and be validated by the court.

The first set of criteria relates to a couple’s relationship breaking down and the requirement that in order to be divorced, they must have separated and been living apart for a minimum of 12 months. The other scenario that the court will want to be confirmed is that there is no reasonable chance that the couple will reconcile and get back together.

Obviously, with the fact that the couple may not be Australian nationals and with them having been married overseas, the court will also want confirmation that the couple, although living apart, are both permanent residents of Australia and have lived here for a minimum of 12 months.

Note that whilst the vast majority of those who married overseas and now live in Australia may hold a foreign passport, many Australians get married overseas, for example, as part of a luxury wedding package in the Caribbean. If so, although they are Australian, the same rules apply to these couples as they to those who lived in another country previously but who now live in Australia.

Assuming that the criteria mentioned previously are met, the process for getting divorced is to submit an Application For Divorce to the Family Court. This must be accompanied by a copy of the couple’s marriage certificate, which must be translated into English if the original is written in a language other than English.

Both the English and the foreign language copy must be submitted together, along with an affidavit from the person who translated the marriage certificate and include with it the qualifications that they have that allow them to translate such documents.

This application can either be made jointly by the couple, or it can be a sole application by just one of them. A sole application for divorce can be objected to, but only on the grounds of eligibility, such as not being separated for 12 months, not the substantive fact that an application has been made. In other words, one spouse cannot object to the application merely because they do not want to get divorced.

As with any divorce in Australia, the grounds for divorce will be irretrievable breakdown under the principle of no-fault divorce which exists in Australian family law. This means that whilst the country where the couple originated from and were married in may have differing divorce laws that allow for grounds such as adultery, that would not apply here.