What Happens Now? The Family Law Process Explained

Watts McCray has special, pre-release access to a detailed report on the preferences and behaviours of over 10,911 family law clients that has been compiled by Settify, our friends and family-law-tech partners.

Over the next 2 weeks we will be releasing information that may be of interest to you. Make sure to follow our social media pages for regular updates:



What The Results Are Telling Us

The report reveals that across Australia, the most important thing in clients’ minds at the start of their journey is a desire to understand the legal process they are engaging in. Here is a snap-quick briefing, and a guide to the best resources.

For a personalised, customised account of the process in your specific circumstances, please use our interactive online tool, powered by Settify’s Artificial Intelligence.


The Family Law Process Explained

When people separate or divorce, they will usually need assistance with some combination of the following:

  • Obtaining a divorce (if married);
  • Resolving parenting arrangements;
  • Dividing property.

There may well be other specific issues around child support, spousal maintenance, domestic violence, and much aside.



The divorce process itself is fairly straightforward. Put very briefly, the marriage must have broken down irretrievably, and the couple must have lived separately and apart for a minimum of twelve months.

You can apply for a divorce alone or jointly by filing an Application for Divorce via the Federal Circuit Court of Australia’s website, and paying the filing fee, which is $865.00 as of the time of writing.

The Court will schedule a divorce hearing. If you made the application alone and you have children under 18, you must attend the hearing. Otherwise, you are not obliged to attend.

Once the Registrar decides the requirements for divorce have been met and that both parties involved have been served the correct papers, the Court will confirm the divorce by granting a Divorce Order, which becomes final a month and a day from the date of the hearing.

For full details, visit


Resolving parenting arrangements

Arrangements for the care of children, and the responsibilities of each parent are usually made by agreement.

Your lawyers will be able to negotiate via letters, conduct mediation, or, if necessary, seek Orders from the court.

If you can reach agreement, it can be a matter of weeks before this is finalised. Proceeding all the way to a final hearing can take a year or more, which is a major reason to try to reach agreement. For more, see our overview.


Dividing property

Similarly, you can reach agreement about the division of property via negotiation, mediation, or litigation.

The relevant factors will be:

  • What assets do you and your partner have?
  • What have you each contributed to the relationship, both financially and non-financially?
  • What resources do you each need to live at a reasonable standard?
  • What is just and equitable in all of the circumstances?


Of course, the best way to understand the legal process is to meet with our team of expert family lawyers. You can phone us on (02) 9283 5877 or get started online.


Settify’s full report will be released here on 26 June.

To read our 1st Volume revealing what Family Law clients want, click here.

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