The Law Regarding Divorce
Historically, the grounds for obtaining a “decree of dissolution of marriage” were predicated upon the following principle: namely, that a marriage could be dissolved only if one of the parties engaged in morally blameworthy conduct that undermined the parties’ relationship.
This changed in 1976 with the enactment of the Family Law Act. There is now only one ground for divorce: i.e., the irretrievable breakdown of the parties’ marriage. Establishing this ground requires proof that the parties have been separated for a period of at least 12 months.
Despite their apparent simplicity, many divorce applications are bedevilled by the following problems:
• The applicant or the parties have failed to persuade the court of the following. Namely, that they have made proper arrangements for the welfare of any children of the marriage
• The applicant or both parties maintain that they have separated even though they continue to live in the same home
• The applicant has attempted to serve the respondent with a sealed copy of the divorce application, but has failed
• The respondent disagrees with either the date of separation or the fact that the parties have separated
• The applicant is unable to prove that the marriage has, in fact, taken place
These are not insurmountable difficulties. If, however, you find yourself in one of these situations, we strongly recommend that you seek our advice.