What you'll need to know if you've been married less than two years and wanting a divorce

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Unfortunately marriages do not always work out like planned.  

What I am noticing through friends and friends of friends as well as clients it is the young ones that are marrying – and separating within the first year – sometimes less of their marriage. So, what happens next when you want a divorce? 

Is it any different because you have been married less than two years? 

The answer is yes! Provided you have been separated for at least twelve months you can still file for divorce – there are additional criteria to satisfy the court of before your divorce will be granted. 


So what do you need to do? If you have been married less than two years you MUST either: 

I. Attend counselling with a family Counsellor or nominated counsellor to discuss the possibility of reconciling; or

II. If you have not attended counselling then you will need to seek permission from the court to apply for your divorce. 

If you attend counselling you will need the counsellor to complete a certificate that states you have discussed the possibility of reconciliation. 

You can obtain the certificate from the Family or Federal Circuit Registry using the following links: www.familycourt.gov.au or www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au 

If you decide not to see a counsellor then you need to file an affidavit asking the Court for permission to file for divorce. 

You will need to explain why you and your spouse have not attended counselling. You need to do this because it is a Court requirement to attend counselling. The exception of allowing you to ask for approval to file without attending counselling takes into account the various reasons why you are not able to attend counselling. 

You might need a solicitor to assist you draft this affidavit. In the affidavit you need to explain the reasons and attempts that you have made to participate in counselling.

You also need to explain any special circumstances of your case. For example was there violence in your relationship? Is it safe for you to attend counselling with your former spouse? 

The same requirements will then apply in regard to service of your divorce application and whether you need to attend the Court event / hearing of your application. 

If you file for divorce jointly neither of you will need to attend court. If however you file a sole application and there are children under 18 you will need too attend. If there are no children than again neither of you will need to attend. 

Once you are divorced you are free to remarry. YOU WILL also start the time limitation for filing in court for a property settlement. 

That may not be to your advantage. To find out more about the requirements to file for divorce having been married for less than two years and / or the advantages and disadvantages to filing for divorce don't be afraid to see a lawyer.


Where to from here? 

You are probably in one of three head spaces right now: 

  1. You liked the information, you found it interesting - but that’s all you wanted for now.

  2. This blog post resonated with you but you are just not ready yet to do anything and just want to look at more information about Family Law – I suggest you look at the other Free Information we have on our website which includes FAQ's as well as Helpful Links and Contacts that may come in handy.

  3. You are wanting more information about what you need to know after separation or you are ready to do something about your problem right now. If that is the case, then book an appointment with one of our Family Law solicitors by clicking here to make an online booking or why not start online!