Separation refers to the situation where one or both parties no longer consider themselves as being in a relationship with each other and do not believe that there is a reasonable prospect of reconciliation. Separation does not require the filing of any applications to the court. It is sufficient that both parties believe the relationship has broken down and do not see the relationship being fixed in the future. You do not have to live in two separate households for separation to occur, it can occur under the same roof.
Divorce is the legal recognition of the end of your marriage. A divorce can be granted by the Federal Circuit Court (Federal Magistrates Court) of Australia or the Family Court of Australia. In order to obtain a divorce the Court requires proof that the marriage has irretrievably failed and you have been separated for at least 12 months.
Divorce occurs separately to property or maintenance issues. You must resolve or institute proceedings for property settlement and spousal maintenance before or at least within 12 months from the date of divorce. After 12 months from the date of divorce you will have to seek the leave of the Court to proceed and this will not always be granted.
If you require any legal assistance in relation to separation and divorce matters, please do not hesitate to contact our office.