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What are the legal grounds for a divorce in Australia?

People often wonder what you have to prove to be able to get a divorce in Australia. Or in other words, what are the grounds for divorce?  In Australia there is only one ground for divorce and this is that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.  


This is answered by the fact that the legislation provides that the only way to prove that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage is to show that you have been separated for twelve (12) months. Thus, provided you have been separated for 12 months you can make an application for divorce.

In order to calculate whether your separation has been over twelve months you need to establish when ‘separation’ took place. There are three elements of separation to establish this: 

  1. You or your husband/wife formed an intention to separate; 
  2. That intention was acted upon, e.g. one of you left the home; and 
  3. The intention was communicated to the other party in the marriage.  

In addition to the above the court must be satisfied that appropriate arrangements have been made for the care, welfare and development of any children of the marriage. 

The answer to this question is no however you will need to show other evidence of separation to satisfy the court that you have separated.  If you want to include periods of separation when you still lived at the same address then you will need to show that you lived separately and apart under that same roof.  You will need to show that you no longer had a common life so you no longer shared a room, meals or other household tasks.  If you continue to cook or clean for each other and share meals it may be difficult to establish that you were actually separated. 

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