Our Legal Services

Family Law

Having difficulties with the divorce process? The Watts McCray team of divorce lawyers are here to advise you on your family law matters and support you every step of the way.

With dedicated offices servicing the Sydney CBD, Parramatta, Canberra, Norwest, Brookvale & Frenchs Forest, our specialist lawyers can help you deal with your concerns and give prompt, accurate divorce advice wherever you live.

Whether you’re concerned about getting a divorce with kids, or you want to know how adultery is treated, we’re here for you. With the largest number of Accredited Specialist family lawyers in Sydney and across Australia, Watts McCray divorce lawyers lead the way.


How do I get a divorce in Australia?

To obtain a divorce in Australia you can apply to the Federal Circuit Court, together with the person you are seeking a divorce from, or by yourself. To be eligible to apply for divorce you must have been separated for 12 months, your marriage must have broken down irretrievably and if you have children of the marriage under 18 years there must be adequate care arrangements in place for those children.


What is the simplest way to get a divorce?

It is important to obtain legal advice in relation to the breakdown of your marriage. We can provide specialist advice to you in relation to all family law matters including the correct process of completing the Application and assist you in ensuring that the Application  is completed and lodged with the Court in accordance with the Family Law Rules. It can be easier when the two parties who are seeking the divorce, do so by agreement, and file a joint Application for Divorce.

A joint Application requires both you and your ex-spouse to review and sign the same divorce application. In order to ensure that the Application is in an acceptable format to the Court and to minimise the risk of the Court requiring any further documents or information, we can assist you in the process, including preparing and drafting the Application for divorce in the Court approved format.

In the event that the Application is not joint, and you are required to file a sole Application, you are then required to have the Application served on the other side. We can ensure that the service is done in accordance with the Family Law Rules so that service is approved by the Court and ultimately an Order for Divorce is made when your Application is before the Court.


Can I file a divorce by myself?

Yes. You can file a sole application for divorce. To file a sole application for divorce you need to complete and file your application for divorce with the Federal Circuit Court. Once filed, you will receive a sealed divorce application and a court hearing date. After receiving your sealed divorce application you must engage a third party to professionally serve the divorce application on your former spouse.

This becomes more complex if your spouse is unable to be located or resides overseas, if this is you we suggest you contact our firm for specific legal advice to ensure your sole divorce proceeds as smoothly as possible.

If you have children from the marriage under the age of 18 years you will need to attend the hearing.  If you do not have children from the marriage under 18 years of age and service was effected without issue, then you do not need to attend the hearing.

How to divorce without going to court

You do not need to attend Court if you file a joint divorce application. If you and your former spouse agree to the divorce and you have both signed and properly executed the divorce application and if there are children of the marriage and their care is adequately provided for, then you will not need to attend Court. However, if there are issues with your divorce application, or difficulty with service, then you will need to attend Court.

Divorce lawyers. How to get a divorce without going to court - WMC lawyers

Watts McCray Divorce Lawyers


When should I hire a divorce lawyer?

A divorce attorney, or more commonly known as a family lawyer in Australia can be hired/retained either when you are considering separating from your partner/spouse, or after you have separated from your partner/spouse. A family lawyer will be crucial in providing you with advice as to dealing with financial, parenting, child support and maintenance matters arising from your separation.

In our view it is critical that the earlier you obtain legal advice from an experienced family lawyer, the better placed you will be to work out the best way to resolve your matter, whether that be through negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or in the event that it is necessary, with the assistance of the family court.


Does it matter who files for divorce first?

The first thing to remember here is that divorce in Australia is very different to matters relating to property and parenting. Your divorce is simply the ending of your marriage and can be applied for by one party or by both parties jointly. It does not matter who files for divorce first, but it is important to remember that once a divorce order has been made by the court you must file an application for property within 12 months of the date of that divorce order.

With regard to property and parenting matters, again it does not usually matter who “files first” however it can sometimes work strategically in your favour to see what your partner/spouse seeks in their application and be able to respond directly to it. This is of course very much dependant on the details of your matter.

Should I tell my Divorce Lawyer everything? 

Yes, you should disclose all relevant matters to your Lawyer in relation to the breakdown of your relationship including your Divorce. Open communication with your Lawyer is vital. In order for your Lawyer to act in your best interests and to provide timely advice that is accurate and relevant to your individual circumstances you should disclose all relevant matters in relation to the breakdown of your relationship, including your Divorce.

Your Lawyer will guide you as to the matters that are relevant to your case. Ultimately, your Lawyer has a duty and responsibility to act in your best interests as well as to keep any and all of your information confidential and not disclose it to anyone unless you expressly instruct them to do so.


What do you do when one spouse wants a divorce and the other doesn’t?

You can file for divorce regardless. In Australia we have ‘no fault’ divorce which means that one party no longer is required to have done something wrong for a divorce to be granted. People can divorce if they want to, even if the other party to the marriage objects to the divorce.

If your former spouse won’t agree to a divorce, you will need to prepare and file a sole divorce application.

You can contact our divorce lawyers to assist you with the process.

Divorce lawyers. Can I file for a divorce if my other half doesn't want to?

What should you not do during a divorce?

Before we get firmly onto our soapbox please be assured that we understand that abiding by these suggestions is often much easier said than done! A divorce is often a highly emotional time which can cloud your decision making, leading to mistakes that can come back to bite you. The best advice would be DO NOT engage in verbal battles with your partner/spouse. This kind of behaviour, even in emotional situations can often reflect badly on you later in a matter if it is brought into evidence.

And flowing on from this, DO NOT use social media during your divorce. Remember, just about anything posted onto social media can be seen, saved, logged and can be very detrimental to your case later on, regardless of whether you posted something in anger or otherwise.


How do I divorce my partner and keep everything?

This is a question we get asked a lot. No one ever intends to find themselves in need of a family lawyer, indeed very few, if any people enter into a relationship thinking it will come to an end. Our role as your family lawyer will be to ensure that you are provided with the best advice to determine what the best outcome would be for you in relation to property division, and to represent you in a manner that seeks to maximise the opportunity for you to get the best possible outcome with respect to that property division.

What constitutes a “good outcome” depends on a number of specific factors that we will work through with you in providing you with our advice. However, the mentality of “I want to keep everything” can be very dangerous in family law proceedings and may in effect reduce your chance of reaching an amicable agreement and significantly drive up your legal expenses.


Watts McCray divorce lawyers

  • To apply for a divorce, you must fill out and lodge an application to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. There is a filing fee that must be paid to the court unless you qualify for fee relief.

    For a fast and convenient way to file your application, you can use our online divorce application process. This is a simple and affordable way to apply for your divorce.

    Alternatively, you can talk to an experienced divorce lawyer from Watts McCray Lawyers who can help you prepare and file your divorce application and assist you with other matters such as property, financial settlements and getting a divorce with kids.

    Once a divorce application has been completed, it is sworn and filed with the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. The application is then given a hearing date that is roughly 2 months from when the application is filed. At this hearing, the court will determine whether a couple has met the requirements for a divorce. Once the court grants the divorce, the divorce order will take effect after one month.

    The whole process generally takes 4 months.

We understand more so than others, that clients cope with the divorce law system better when they are kept aware of the legal processes they are involved in. Because of this, our divorce lawyers will keep you aware of the relevant legal processes or any new developments that may directly affect you regularly and appropriately.

Do you have a question about family law or relationship law?

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