How long does a divorce take?


My wife and I have been thinking about getting a divorce for a while. Before we do, we want to know how long it takes to get a divorce? so we know what to expect.


Before we get into exactly how long a divorce takes, it's important to clarify that a divorce and a property settlement are two very different things. 

People often refer to a property settlement as a divorce. That's not what we are touching on in this article. A divorce is simply legally ending the marriage. So, we are discussing how long it takes to legally terminate the marriage, NOT how long it takes to divide your assets.

If you wish to find out how long a property settlement takes we have answered that question in another article - How long does a property settlement take?

A divorce usually takes anywhere from 15 months and 2 days to 18 months and 3 days. But be aware, that is not the entire application process, we explain below.

Why does it take so long to get a divorce?

The main reason is that you must be separated for 12 months before you can even make an application for a divorce. 

You have to be separated for 12 months because the court wants to be certain that there is no chance or reconciliation between you and your former spouse. That there is no chance you will get back together.

After 12 months has passed, the application process is fairly straightforward. You could complete it within a day or two. You then need to either have your former spouse co-sign it, or serve them with the application.

For a step-by-step guide on how to apply for a divorce, download our guide "How To Get A Divorce" below:

How To Get A Divorce.

Free, step-by-step guide to submitting an application for divorce. 

How To Get A Divorce.

Free, step-by-step guide to submitting an application for divorce. 

Once you have filed your application for divorce, you will then be given a hearing date. The hearing date depends on how busy the Courts are. You might be given a hearing date within the next month, or you may have to wait for 4 or 5 months.

Once you have had your hearing and the divorce is granted, you will still have to wait 1 month and 1 day after the date the divorce order was made before the divorce takes effect. 

The breakdown

The breakdown:

  • Need to be separated for 12 months before you are eligible to apply for a divorce.
  • 1-2 days to complete the application process. 
  • Wait anywhere from 2 - 5 months for a hearing date.
  • Once granted, wait 1 month and 1 day before the divorce takes effect.

Best case scenario:

12 months  + 1 day + 2 months + 1 month + 1 day

= 15 months and 2 days

Overall the process itself is very quick. It only takes one/ two days to actually complete the application. There could be some delay in serving your spouse if they are not willing to co-sign the application. Unfortunately, unavoidable time limits* and the delays of the court is what draws things out.

* some time limits can be reduced or avoided in some extreme circumstances.

If you have any questions regarding the divorce process or your property settlement feel free to call us on 1300 767 384. Alternatively, book in for a free phone appointment below for your own free, step-by-step plan. It's created by a qualified lawyer and it's fully tailored to your situation. 

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