The Family Law Act allows the ending of a marriage by a divorce application to be filed in one of two different ways, commonly called a Joint Application for Divorce or a divorce by one of the parties to the marriage.
This article is to examine the pros and cons of each approach.
Joint Application for Divorce
By its very name, a joint application for divorce means exactly that – which is a document being the Divorce Application filed (and signed) by both parties to the marriage. The advantage of a Joint Divorce application is that there is no need to arrange for service of the application on one party or the other and the final hearing is greatly simplified, unless there are technical issues such as separation not being for twelve (12) months or it is not clear what the care arrangements for children under 18 are at the time of the application.
Of course, with a joint application for divorce, it does mean that both parties must be able to co-operate in arranging completion of the application and signing the necessary affidavit to file same. Sometimes simply because of communication issues or the lack of knowledge of the whereabouts of the other party this is not possible.
The other issue with a Joint Divorce is how the filing fee payable to the Commonwealth is treated. In a joint application for divorce, the filing fee is $900 unless both parties hold a Health or Pension Concession Card. If only one of the parties holds a concession card then the full fee is still charged. In those circumstances, it may be better to simply file on behalf of one of the parties and then arrange for completion of an Acknowledgment of Service by the other party of the Application. This can save $600 being the difference between the full price of an application $900 and the reduced fee of $300.
By far the most common Application is an Application filed by one party rather than a joint application for divorce. This is for the reasons outlined above such as lack of communication or ability for the parties to co-operate or know where the other party is located.
As noted above, an advantage of a single Application can be that is that if that party holds a pension or health concession card they can pay the reduced filing fee with the Commonwealth.
When an individual Application is filed it is necessary to serve same on the other party which is usually done by post or in person. On rare occasions when the other party is not able to be located a further application asking that service be upon a third party or even be not required at all can be made. The team at Your Divorce will obtain the necessary information from you in relation to the issue of service to work out which is the best option in all cases.
Taking the first step
Once you have formed the view that you wish to legally end your marriage the filing of your Application is the first step to obtaining a formal Order for the dissolution of the marriage. If you are not sure how to proceed, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries about filing your Application or provide your details through the Get Started section of our website and we will be in contact with you to advance matters as quickly as possible.