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Understanding Australia’s no-fault divorce


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A common misconception when it comes to divorce in Australia is that because the action or behaviour of one party in a marriage might have been the cause of a relationship break down, the other spouse will get some form of compensation or reparation when property settlements or child support arrangements are being decided.

This is not the case. Since the enactment of the 1975 Family Law Act, “no-fault” divorce was introduced.

What does this mean? It means that for a couple to divorce, it needn’t be proved that either party is ‘at-fault’ for the breakdown of a marriage.

To clarify what the no-fault clause means, here are some key insights:

• Prior to the 1975 Family Law Act, grounds for divorce included adultery, habitual drunkenness or insanity – there had to be proof and evidence of the fault of one or both parties in causing the breakdown of marital relations. This ‘fault’ could then be used as evidence in court proceedings. With the introduction of the Family Law Act, ‘no-fault’ divorce was introduced, which established that the wrongdoing of either party not be considered or provided as evidence for a divorce. Rather than proving that one party broke the marriage contract, a couple now only has to show that they have had a 12 month separation.

• Reasons why a relationship breaks down, however, can still remain relevant when it comes to determining post separation parenting arrangements for children, and in some instances the entitlements to property settlement. Issues of mental illness, substance abuse, gambling or domestic violence, for example, can be taken into consideration by the court where relevant.

• The establishment of no-fault divorce was designed to place focus and emphasis on mediation and alternative dispute resolution, as opposed to confrontational court room cases. Proving fault for a divorce often led to character assassinations or paved the way for difficult relations when it came to parenting arrangements or child custody agreements.

Experienced family lawyers can provide more information on Family Law and family law services , and guide you through the divorce process.

Experienced family lawyers from au provide a wide range of family law advice , and can help you unlock complicated law lingo and understand what family law means for you.


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