Are you a real law firm?
Many online divorce services are not run by lawyers. At Kate Austin Family Lawyers, you’ll have a real lawyer looking after you. Our principal solicitor Rachel Stubbs is an accredited specialist in family law with 20 years’ experience. You can rest assured that you’re in good hands and that your matter is being handled by someone who knows what they’re doing.
Is Divorce the same as property settlement?
Obtaining a Divorce is just that. The process is simple and, with us, it’s pretty inexpensive. But if you have other issues, like the division of your assets, or putting together an agreement for the future care arrangements for your children, that’s a separate issue altogether. We can still help you with that, and in fact, it’s all we do. If you need some advice about where to go with a property settlement or future parenting arrangements, let us know and we can have a chat to you about it.
How ‘fixed’ is your fixed fee?
If you go through the steps on our ‘Get a Quote’ page, it’ll give you a precise figure for what we’ll charge for your divorce. No if’s, but’s or maybe’s. That’s what it is and that’s what we’ll charge you. You’ll find quotes on other websites that look like pretty good deals, however you should look closely at them. Often, they don’t include the hearing, which you’re then expected to do yourself. We will attend at the hearing on your behalf and you won’t even have to take a day off work to be there.
Why are you so much less expensive than other lawyers?
The divorce process is not a difficult one. We believe that legal fees should be commensurate with the level of expertise required to do the job. Many lawyers charge at their usual hourly rate, around $400.00 an hour, whatever they’re working on. We don’t believe this is justified for divorce matters, so we don’t charge it.
When do I have to pay?
There are two components to your quote. The first is the fees that we charge. The second is the fee that the court charges. Ordinarily, the court filing fee is $865.00. If you’ve got a concession or health care card, the fee is $290.00. When it comes to paying, you can either pay us the entire amount of your quote when you first engage us, or you can pay the legal fee component first up and the court filing fee once the Application is ready to be filed. Either way, the funds go into a trust account, and we don’t get paid until your matter is entirely concluded.
How long will the Divorce process take with Kate Austin?
We’ll have a prepared Application to you to review and sign within 48 hours of you providing your instructions to us. Once you’ve signed the document and returned it to us, we’ll file it online straight away. Usually, we get a hearing date around eight weeks from the date of filing. The divorce becomes final one month and one day after the date of the hearing. So you’re looking at around 13 or 14 weeks all up.
Is there anything that I have to do?
There are a few things. You’ll need to sign the Divorce Application once we’ve prepared it for you. But we’ll go through that with you so it’s easy. We’ll also need the following documents, if they’re applicable to your situation:-
- A copy of your Marriage Certificate.
- A copy of any court orders for property settlement or children’s orders that have been made.
- A copy of any domestic violence orders that are currently in place.
- A copy of your passport or citizenship papers if you were not born in Australia.
- A copy of your health care card or Centrelink card if you’re applying for a discount on the court filing fee.
What if I have other questions, or questions along the way?
Your fixed fee covers everything. If you’ve got questions, or there’s something you’re worried about, give us a call. That’s what we’re here for.
MORE GENERAL FAQ’S
What are the criteria for obtaining a divorce? Does it have to be someone’s fault?
In Australia, we have a no fault divorce system. So you don’t have to prove that someone did the wrong thing. All you need to establish is that the relationship has ‘irretrievably broken down’ and that you’re not going to get back together. To do this, you have to demonstrate that you’ve been separated for at least twelve months.
What’s the difference between a sole application and a joint application?
If you and your former spouse apply for a divorce together, it’s called a joint application. It’s easier in the sense that you don’t have to worry about serving the documents on anyone, which you do if you’re making the application by yourself. A sole application is one where you complete and file the documents yourself, and then they’re served on your former spouse. You are then known as the ‘applicant’ and the other party is known as the ‘respondent’.
What if we’re separated, but we’re still living together?
You can still obtain a divorce. The Court will still accept that you’re separated even though you’re living together in same residence.
The court needs to be satisfied however that you’ve actually separated, even though you’re still living together, and so you need to provide extra evidence if you’ve separated but you’re still living together. This is done by filing what is called an ‘affidavit’, which is a statement by you. You need one affidavit by the person making the Application and a second affidavit from someone who is in a position to say and verify on your behalf that you’ve separated.
If you’re filing your application together with you’re former spouse then each of you need to file an affidavit and you should also get a third person to also file an affidavit to corroborate what you’ve said in your affidavit matrial.
Do I need a lawyer to obtain a divorce?
No, you can certainly do it yourself. People choose to get a lawyer to obtain a divorce for them for lots of reasons. Sometimes they don’t have the time. Sometimes they just don’t want to have to deal with the other person. Some people find the process a bit confusing and getting a lawyer is the easiest way to ensure that it all goes through smoothly.
What if I’m not an Australian citizen or I’m not living in Australia?
To be eligible to apply for a divorce in Australia, you or your spouse must answer yes to at least one of the following:
- That you regard Australia as your home and intend to live indefinitely in Australia. So you are lawfully present in Australia and intend to continue living in Australia.
- That you are an Australian citizen by birth or descent. This means that you were born in Australia, or you were born outside Australia and at least one parent was an Australian citizen, your birth was registered in Australia.
- That you are an Australian citizen by grant of an Australian Citizenship.
- That you live in Australia and have done so for 12 months immediately before filing for divorce. You need to be able to say that you have lived continually in Australia for a period of 12 months immediately prior to filing for divorce, not including overseas holidays or business trips.
What if we’ve been married less than two years?
If you have been married less than two years you will need to obtain a counselling certificate to say that you’ve attended counselling and as a result of that counselling, there is no possibility that you will resume married life. There are exceptions to this rule, for example, if you’re not able to find your former spouse to ask them to attend counselling, or if there was domestic violence in your relationship and it’s not safe for you to attend counselling. In these types of instances, an affidavit needs to be filed with the Court so that they can see why a counselling certificate was not obtained.
Do I have to go to Court?
In some circumstances you don’t have to attend court. If you don’t have any children under the age of 18, the court can deal with your Application without either party even attending, as long as all the correct documents have been filed and there is evidence that the other person knows about the Application. Otherwise, you do have to go to court. If you’ve got a lawyer, they can go to court on your behalf, and so you don’t need to go. Sometimes this is easier, particularly if you don’t like the idea of having to do your own appearance, or if you have to travel a long way.
You should attend or have a lawyer attend on your behalf, if you are applying for an order for substituted service or a dispensation of service in circumstances where you cannot find the respondent to serve the court document. It is also advisable to attend if you are required to provide additional affidavit material to explain circumstances such as separation under the same roof/ married less than two years and other situations which may impact on the outcome of your matter.
Why does It make a difference that we’ve got children who are under 18?
One of the things that the court has to be satisfied about at the Divorce Hearing is that proper arrangements have been made for any children of the marriage who are under the age of 18. If there are children of the marriage it is important to provide particulars of the arrangements that are in place with respect to the children in Part F of the application including housing, care arrangements, schooling, and health of the child/ren. You also need to provide details of the contact that the child has with each of their parents, and if there’s no contact, why that is.
A child of the marriage includes:
- any child of you and your spouse, including children born before the marriage or after separation
- any child adopted by you and your spouse, or
- any child who was treated as a member of your family prior to your final separation; for example, a step-child or foster child.
What does ‘service’ mean? What if I can’t serve my application on my former spouse?
If you file an application for divorce together with your spouse as joint applicants you are not required to serve the documents on anyone. However if you file the application by yourself as a sole applicant, you are required to serve the application for divorce on the other party. This is because the court needs to be satisfied that they are aware of the Application being made and have had a chance to respond to it if they want to. In reality, most respondents don’t attend court and this makes it all the more important from the court’s perspective that they can identify that the other person at least knows about the application being made. An affidavit of service has to be filed with the court so that the court can be satisfied that the other person is aware of the Application being made.
If you are unable to effect service on your spouse, even after you have taken all reasonable steps to locate him/her, this doesn’t mean your divorce won’t be granted. It just means that you will need to file further evidence, that is, an affidavit, about why you can’t serve them and what attempts you have made to try to draw the application to their attention. It might also be that they can be served in another way other than personally, say by email or Facebook.
What if I’ve changed my name since I was married?
If the name you use now is different from your married name or maiden name you will need to file an affidavit explaining the difference in names.