Divorce Counselling – What Is It and Do I Need It?

According to the Family Law Act 1975, one of the preconditions for getting a divorce in Australia is having been married for more than 2 years. But life happens sometimes in a way we don’t expect or want it to happen, so it might be that you want a divorce even before the two-year’s anniversary. Is it possible?

Yes, but it comes with a certain “catch”. If you have been married for less than 2 years, to get the divorce, you need to have the record of having attended the required counselling with the Family Court.

In this case, prior to the Divorce Application, you and your spouse must attend counselling with a counsellor – it can be a family counsellor, or a nominated counsellor. The goal of counselling is discussing the possibility of reconciliation.

How Do I Find a Counsellor?

If you need assistance in finding a counsellor, you can visit familyrelationships.gov.au, or call your legal representatives at Withstand Lawyers. If you don’t have a representative with us, be advised that we offer free legal advice and consultation to our first-time clients.

When choosing a counsellor, you need to make sure that he or she is qualified to complete a counselling certificate issued by the Court. You can download a blank counselling certificate online. Your counsellor will fill it in, and thus confirm that they have discussed the possibility of reconciliation with you and your spouse.

When you apply for divorce, your Divorce Application has to have the completed counselling certificate attached.

What If I Can’t Attend Counselling?

It might happen that you find it impossible to attend counselling with your spouse. If this is the case, you need to seek the permission of the Court to apply for a divorce. You can do this by filing an affidavit with your Divorce Application. The Affidavit is a written statement prepared either by yourself or a witness, and it is used to present facts of the case to the Court. An affidavit must be sworn in front of a lawyer or a justice of the peace.

Your affidavit must state the following:

  • Why you (and/or your spouse) have not attended counselling.

Maybe you weren’t able to locate your spouse, or they refused to attend counselling with you. In any case, you must provide details of your attempts to find them, or having invited them to counselling.

  • Any special circumstances.

In this sense, special circumstances relate to, for example, a history of domestic abuse in the marriage. Had it been such history, it would be dangerous for you to attend counselling with your spouse.

If you have any doubts or questions about divorce counselling, do not hesitate to contact us. Withstand Lawyers have an extensive history of dealing with divorce matters, and will be happy to provide you with answers and legal advice.

We are based in offices in Sydney, Parramatta and Brisbane, but we can also schedule an appointment in Blacktown, Bankstown, Campbelltown, Central Coast, North Shore, Penrith or Wollongong.

Call us at 1800 644 541, send us an email at info@withstandlawyers.com.au, or send an online inquiry, and we will schedule a meeting with one of our divorce lawyers as soon as possible.

Don’t forget – as a special welcome for our new clients, we offer free legal consultation!

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