Things to know about Divorce

Family Court of Western Australia

Family Court of Western Australia

Below is some information on some of the many things to know about Divorce. Please bear in mind that you should consult a lawyer for individual advice regarding your own situation.


You can apply for a divorce by yourself (known as a sole application) or together with your spouse (known as a joint application). When making a sole application, the spouse making it is known as the applicant. The other spouse is therefore known as the respondent. When a joint application is being made, the husband and wife are known as joint applicants.

Application for a divorce in Australia can be made if either you or your spouse:

  • regard Australia as your home and intend to live in Australia indefinitely, or
  • are an Australian citizen by birth, descent or by grant of Australian citizenship, or
  • ordinarily live in Australia and have done so for 12 months immediately before filing for divorce.

You also need to satisfy the Court that you and your spouse have lived separately and apart for at least 12 months, and there is no reasonable likelihood of resuming married life. It is possible to live together in the same home and still be separated.

Property and Parenting Arrangements

When separating, you and your spouse need to make important decisions about the future care of any children you may have, and how to divide your property, money and belongings. The granting of a divorce does not decide issues about parenting arrangements for your children or property and maintenance.


Plans to remarry should not be made until the divorce order is finalised (which in most cases is one month and one day after the divorce hearing).

If intending to remarry, the marriage celebrant must be given a Notice of Intended Marriage at least one month before the wedding date, as well as complying with other requirements of the Marriage Act 1961.

As soon as the divorce order is granted, the marriage celebrant may accept the Notice of Intended Marriage. You must show a copy of the divorce order to the marriage celebrant before the wedding can take place

Kavanagh Family Lawyers can help

When applying for Divorce, Kavanagh Family Lawyers can help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities, and will explain how the law applies to your case.

Next Steps

  • If we may be of assistance, call Kavanagh Lawyers on (08) 6557 5888.

Need a Perth family lawyer?

perth family lawyer

Need a Perth family lawyer? – Choose Kavanagh Family Lawyers Perth

When requiring a Perth Family Lawyer, Kavanagh Family Lawyers offer a wealth of experience in all aspects of Family Law. From Divorce and De Facto Relationships, including Same Sex Relationships, and the resulting Child Support and Custody, Spousal Maintenance and Property Settlement.

Kavanagh Family Lawyers can draw up Binding Financial Agreements (BFAs) (known in some other countries as a ‘pre-nuptial agreement’) as well as Violence Restraining Orders and Misconduct restraining orders.

We also have vast experience in Enduring Power of Attorney and Wills & Inheritance.

For a full list of services, visit our Legal Services page.

Kavanagh Family Lawyers practise exclusively in the area of Family Law and are well assisted by skilled and committed paralegal, secretarial and administrative staff. We undertake many complex and intricate family law litigation in Perth, and as well as effectively acting for clients whose legal issues are reasonably uncomplicated and who wish to resolve the matters quickly and cost effectively. Give us a call on (08) 6557 5888 to speak to a Perth family lawyer.


Stay in touch with all the latest news on family law in Perth with Kavanagh Family Lawyer’s News Section. Included are topics such as Child Relocation Orders and Breaching Family Court Orders as well as discussions on the Importance of Making a Will and the nature of Pre-nuptial Agreements (known as Binding Financial Agreements in Western Australia).


Kavanagh Family Lawyers also have a Publications section where papers and documents on the various aspects of Family Law can be found. The majority of these have been previously presented at Law conferences throughout the country and internationally by Kavanagh’s lawyers. In particular, publications on Violence Restraining Orders (VRO’s) which utilise the knowledge and expertise in this area from Kavanagh Family Lawyers.

Separation and Divorce

divorce in western australia

abs separation and divorceThe Australian Bureau of Statistics released the latest data for Separation and Divorce last week. These 2012 figures show that in Western Australia, 5073 divorces were granted. A slight increase on the previous years figure of 5020.

2218 of these applications were joint, while 1541 were female and the remaining 1314 were male.

Other divorce statistics highlighted included the average divorce age, which for males was 45.7 years, and for females it was 42.8 years of age.

The average length of a marriage before Separation and Divorce

In 2012, the average length of a marriage before separation was 8.9 years, and to divorce was 12.6 years.

Divorces involving children

The number of children affected by divorce in Western Australia has decreased from 54.2 in 2011 to 52.8% in 2012.

You can view all the statistics on Separation and Divorce here.

Legal services offered by our Perth Family Lawyers

our perth family lawyersKavanagh Family Lawyers – Legal Services

Offering legal services exclusively in the area of Family Law, our Perth Family Lawyers can provide the following specific services:

  • Divorce: Divorce involves the cancelling of legal responsibilities and duties of the marriage as well as dissolving of the ties of matrimony between a married couple.
  • De Facto Relationships: Kavanagh Family Lawyers assist in the event of a breakdown of a de facto relationship. We also provide advice on steps that can be taken before or during a de facto relationship which may prevent future disputes in the event the relationship breaks down.
  • Same Sex Relationships: Kavanagh Family Lawyers are fortunate to have many same sex clients. Our Perth Family Lawyers are highly experienced in dealing with the various challenges that same-sex couples face with regard to family law, and legal recognition of their relationships.
  • Child Support and Custody: Our Perth Family Lawyers can provide prompt and professional legal advice on child support and custody, to help separated or divorced parents reach agreements quickly and protect the best interests of the children.
  • Binding Financial Agreements (BFAs): A Binding Financial Agreement (known in some other countries as a ‘pre-nuptial agreement’) can deal with how your property would be settled upon the breakdown of the marriage or de facto relationship, and how one or both parties are to be maintained during and/or after that breakdown. Binding Financial Agreements can protect finances and property.
  • Spousal Maintenance: After a marriage or de facto relationship has broken down, Spousal Maintenance is the financial support that one party to a marriage or de facto relationship may be required to continue to provide to the other party.
  • Violence Restraining Orders: A violence restraining order (VRO) is an order of the court designed to stop threats, property damage, violence, intimidating behaviour and emotional abuse. It tells the offender to stay away and/or to stop behaving in certain ways towards the person.
  • Misconduct restraining orders: A misconduct restraining order (MRO) is an order of the court designed to stop someone behaving in a way that can be offensive or intimidating towards another. It can also prevent someone from causing damage to a person’s property or acting in a way that may lead to breeching of the peace.
  • Property Settlement and Conveyancing: When a breakdown of a marriage or de facto relationship occurs, the division of property and other assets becomes critically important to the financial future of both parties. Our Perth Family Lawyers know how important it is to obtain legal advice before trying to negotiate any property settlement with your spouse or partner.
  • Enduring Power of Attorney: An enduring power of attorney is a legal document created to allow a person to appoint another who will make financial and/or property decisions on their behalf.
  • Wills & Inheritance: As a Will is the document which sets out a person’s wishes for his or her property to be disposed of in a particular way upon death, it is important for it to be valid. A will has to meet certain formal requirements which are prescribed by the Wills Act.

Our team of Perth family lawyers can provide meaningful solutions for clients in all aspects of the family law services mentioned above.

Next Steps

  • If we may be of assistance, call Kavanagh Lawyers on (08) 6557 5888.

Child Custody: What happens if I breach a family court order?

Child Custody articleAn article appearing in the West Australian newspaper and on its website talks about an incident relating to child custody.

A mother involved in a custody battle has been jailed for a year by the Perth District Court after she tried to falsify results of a hair drug test that was required to be submitted to the Family Court. She was concerned that the test would detract from her ability to retain her son’s custody.

You can read the article in full here.

Kavanagh Family Lawyers Can Help with Child Custody and Support

Kavanagh Family Lawyers aim to provide you with prompt and professional initial advice about your rights and obligations as a parent. Our Lawyers take professional obligation to “tell it like it is” and to be frank and honest very seriously. We will make sure you know where you stand and, if necessary, present your case at Court to the best of our ability.

Read more about our Child Support and Custody services here.

Family Lawyers Perth

What do family lawyers do

Kavanagh Family Lawyers Perth based handle family-related issues as well as domestic relations. Many family law practices focus on representing divorce clients or issues that are related to divorce such as child support and child custody, martial property, and alimony. Family lawyers Perth based can also draft prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, and litigate any matters related to the two.

Some Family lawyers based can represent victims of domestic violence or defend clients who are accused of domestic violence. Family lawyers also handle areas such as juvenile delinquency, child abuse, adoptions, guardianship, and child neglect. There are often different courts designated to handle custody, child support, divorce, alimony, etc… all of these issues must be contested before judges.

While some family lawyers specialize in areas such as adoption law, many have expertise throughout a handful of practice areas, with a wide range of skills, including the ability to negotiate and draft contracts, pleadings, legal documents, litigate in court, attempt to dissolve any disputes, and council their clients on available options. Family lawyers must also have interpersonal skills and manage emotionally volatile situations that may arise.

Why use a family lawyer

Kavanagh Family Lawyers Perth should be considered if you are engaged in or nearly to be engaged in any family matters such as a divorce, or fight for child custody, adoption, etc… By working with a professional, you can ensure that all of your legal matters are handled swiftly and correctly. You can learn better what options you have before you based on your current situation, and make informed choices with a legal professional to support you.

The importance of using specialist lawyers

If you dealing with a particular specialty such as domestic violence or adoption, you will want a specialty Family lawyers Perth based to assist. For example: if you need to file a restraining order but are unsure of which order to file or which court to file with, you can hire a specialist lawyer to help you. They can better define for you what options you have and what conditions you can file for. There are different conditions which can be imposed with such a restraining order. The person may be bound from being in or near your home, your place of work, or another specific place. They may be restricted from coming within a particular distance from you, or from trying to contact you in any way. The manner in which they make arrangements with your children may be strictly limited. They may be prohibited from owning guns or ammunition.

If you are interested in adoption, you should also consider hiring Kavanagh Family Lawyers Perth, as adoption is a unique and complicated aspect of family law too. You can work with a lawyer to ensure that the correct paperwork is filed based on where you are adopting. You can expedite the legal process by ensuring all documents are handled correctly the first time.