How to File a Joint Application for Divorce in Western Australia: Step-by-Step

by | Jun 13, 2024

If you’re starting a journey through divorce in Western Australia, Genuine Legal WA is here to help.

So, for the question of how to file for divorce in Western Australia, you’ll find the streamlined process of filing a joint application in this comprehensive guide.

Introduction – Joint Divorce Applications in Western Australia

If you and your partner have decided to end your marriage amicably, a joint divorce application might be the most suitable route.

In this divorce proceedings guide, we’ll walk you through the process step by step, ensuring you understand the requirements, benefits and legal considerations of filing a joint divorce application in Western Australia.

What is a Joint Application for Divorce?

A joint application for divorce is a legal process where both parties in a marriage mutually agree to dissolve their union.  This approach signifies a collaborative effort to end the marriage without the need for adversarial proceedings. By jointly applying for divorce, couples acknowledge their intention to formally end a marriage in the eyes of the law. It’s worth noting that while this is one step in an amicable separation process, a joint application for divorce does not address matters such as property division or spousal support directly.

Benefits of Choosing a Joint Application

A joint application offers several benefits, including cost-effectiveness, efficiency and reduced emotional strain. Since both parties are in agreement, the process tends to be smoother and less time-consuming compared to contested divorces. Additionally, joint applications often result in more favourable outcomes.

Other Types of Divorce Applications

While a joint divorce application suits couples who can agree on the terms of their divorce, other options exist for those facing more contentious situations. Either way, book a consultation with us as your first step to a resolution.

Eligibility Criteria for Filing a Joint Application

Understanding the Requirements

Before filing a joint application for divorce in Western Australia, ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. Both parties must have been separated for at least 12 months and intend to end the marriage permanently.  Additionally, one party must be an Australian citizen or resident, or consider Australia as their permanent home.

Preparing the Necessary Documentation

To proceed, you will need to gather certain documents to streamline the application process. These include your marriage certificate and evidence of separation. 

It is important that you can produce evidence that you and your partner have truly separated. If you still live under one roof, these may include financial records or statutory declarations from friends and family confirming your separation. If one party has moved out, lease agreements are relevant evidence of separation.

The Step-by-Step Process of Filing a Joint Application

Starting the Application: Key Steps

The first step is completing the required forms, namely Form 3 – Application for Divorce.  This form can be obtained through your legal representative. Once completed, both parties must sign the application before it can be lodged with the court.

Navigating the Legal Procedures

After lodging your joint application, the court will review the documents and, if satisfied, issue a divorce order. This typically occurs around one month after applying. Once the order is granted, your marriage will be officially dissolved, provided there are no objections or complications.

Legal Considerations and Implications

Understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities

While a joint application for divorce signifies mutual agreement, it’s essential to understand your rights and responsibilities throughout the process. Matters such as property division, spousal maintenance and arrangements for any children of the marriage fall outside of the divorce application itself and require special attention. If you’re not sure where to start, consider booking a free family law consultation with Genuine Legal WA.

How a Lawyer Can Assist in the Process

Engaging the services of a qualified family lawyer can provide invaluable support and guidance during your divorce proceedings. Our experienced lawyers can help you navigate complex legal issues, negotiate agreements with your spouse and ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.

FAQs: Joint Divorce Applications in WA

How Do I Handle Disagreements During the Process?

In the event of disagreements during the divorce process, it’s advisable to seek mediation or legal advice to resolve disputes amicably. If an agreement cannot be reached, the court may need to intervene to make decisions on contentious issues.

What If One Party Changes Their Mind?

If one party wishes to withdraw from the joint application before the divorce order is granted, they can do so by notifying the court in writing. However, if the divorce order has already been issued, it cannot be revoked unless there are exceptional circumstances.

When Should I Discuss Splitting Assets With The Other Party?

In ideal circumstances, financial asset division would be discussed by amicable parties in the weeks or months following their decision to separate (prior to submitting a divorce application). If a settlement can be agreed upon, it will be formalised in a legally binding Separation Agreement. In more complex circumstances, this may not always be possible.

We recommend consulting with a lawyer specialising in property matters if you are unsure of how to proceed.

Dealing with Complex Asset Division

For couples with complex asset division issues, such as shared businesses or substantial investments, seeking legal advice is crucial to ensure a fair and equitable outcome. It’s recommended to seek a lawyer to assist in negotiating property settlements and drafting legally binding agreements that fall outside of the scope of your application.

Does a Joint Application For Divorce Address Child Custody?

No, these are separate processes. If you need more information about Parenting Plans or Child Support Agreements, consult a legal specialist.

How Long Does the Joint Application Process Take?

The timeframe for processing a joint application for divorce varies depending on factors such as court processing times and any complications that may arise. In most cases, the process takes around three to four months.

How Genuine Legal WA Can Support You During Your Divorce

We hope this has answered ‘How to file for divorce Western Australia’. At Genuine Legal WA, we understand that navigating the divorce process can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone.

Our experienced team of family lawyers is here to provide advice and support tailored to your unique circumstances.  From completing your joint application to representing you in court, we’re committed to using our services to help you achieve a fair and amicable divorce resolution.

If you’re considering filing a joint application for divorce in Western Australia, contact us to book a consultation with one of our knowledgeable family lawyers.