Separation, divorce and marriage annulment

Separation, divorce and marriage annulment

Separation is when you and your partner stop living together in a domestic or marriage-like relationship.

Your partner does not have to agree to the separation, however he or she needs to know that you think the relationship is over. There are no legal processes to become separated.

Divorce is the official ending of marriage. You must satisfy the court that:

  • you and your spouse have lived separately and apart for 12 months
  • there is no chance of reconciling your marriage.

Annulment happens when a judge decides that there was no legal marriage.

Getting a divorce or having a marriage annulled does not sort out issues relating to children or property. These arrangements must be made separately. You do not need to be divorced or to have had your marriage annulled in order to make these arrangements. For more information see Parenting arrangements and child contact.

The law encourages you to try to sort out your issues using family dispute resolution. If you cannot agree on arrangements about property or children, you may end up going to court.

Laws about division of property and financial maintenance apply to married couples and to de facto and same-sex relationships that ended after 1 March 2009.

More information

De facto and same-sex relationships

Dividing your property


Family dispute resolution

Financial maintenance for partners

Marriage annulment

Get help

Find out how you can get help with separation, divorce and marriage annulment.

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