Separation & Divorce

Michael Lynch Family Lawyers is one of Brisbane’s largest family law firms and provides a complete range of family law services. Servicing the north and south sides of Brisbane, our understanding divorce lawyers and solicitors can help you move forward with your life following a marriage breakdown. Contact our Brisbane CBD office today to speak with an experienced family lawyer specialising in divorce and separation matters.

In Australia, family law is based on a “no-fault” principle. This means the only grounds for divorce is an “irretrievable breakdown” of marriage, defined as a 12-month separation with no likelihood of reconciliation. The information below and the expertise provided by our divorce solicitors will help you understand how divorce laws work in Queensland and the rest of Australia.

Reasons for Divorce

Relationships break down for a variety of reasons. Understanding what causes most marriages to end can help you come to terms with your own divorce as can assisstance of an experienced divorce solicitor. These are the most frequently cited causes for divorce in Australia:

Growing Apart

Many marriages degrade over time rather than falling apart suddenly. As couples get older, they sometimes start to lead increasingly separate lives.


Despite being founded on lifelong commitment, many marriages end due to cheating. Couples can try to move past infidelity, but a serious breach of trust often leads to divorce.


From financial hardship to incompatible spending habits, money is a common instigator in marriage breakdowns.


Whether it’s triggered by substance abuse, jealousy or anger management problems, both physical and verbal abuse can bring a marriage to an end.


It’s perfectly normal for couples to have the occasional argument, but constant bickering can lead to a build-up of resentment over time.

Requirements for Obtaining a Divorce

Divorce is the legal ending of a marriage. Even if you have been separated for years, your marital status can affect your legal rights and responsibilities. You also cannot remarry until you have obtained a divorce.

Before a divorce can be finalised, couples must meet the following conditions:

  • You are able to prove that you are in a legally valid marriage (a marriage certificate will suffice)
  • Either you or your partner are an Australian citizen
  • You have resided in Australia for the last 12 months
  • You and partner have been legally separated for a minimum of 12 months.

How to Get a Divorce

The first thing to know about getting a divorce is that it’s not an overnight process settled by a divorce solicitor. It should be noted that you do not need to have resolved parenting matters or property settlement to apply for a divorce. After the 12 months separation the application will take several months. Filing for divorce involves:

  • Separation – A married couple can only divorce once they have been separated for at least 12 months. If neither spouse can afford to move away from the family home, a couple may live ‘under the same roof’ while still being classified as separated.
  • Divorce Application Form – This form needs to be filled out and submitted to the court. If you are applying for a divorce as a sole party, the application must be formally served on the other party.
  • Divorce Order – Once your divorce application has been filed with the court, a hearing date will be set. If your application is approved by the court, you will be granted a divorce order.

Can a Divorce Application Be Opposed?

Divorce applications can only be opposed under exceptional circumstances. For example, if:

  • A couple have been separated less than 12 months
  • The court does not have jurisdiction to grant a divorce.
  • The court is not satisfied that appropriate arrangements are in place for the ‘welfare of the children’.

You can oppose a divorce application by filing a Response to Divorce. If you choose to do this, you will be asked to present a valid reason as to why you think the divorce should not be granted. Our experienced divorce solicitors can advise you on the process involved.

Children’s Role in Divorce

A Divorce Order does not resolve children’s arrangements or property matters. Although these matters are dealt with separately, you must be able to show in a Divorce Application that you have made appropriate arrangements for the welfare of your children. A divorce order will not be granted unless you satisfy the court that reasonable arrangements are in place for the welfare of the children.

You can find more information on child custody laws here.

Divorce FAQs

Q. How much will a divorce cost?

A. Fees can vary depending on your circumstances. Beyond the court filing fee of $1,100 (including GST), the minimum solicitor’s cost for applying for a divorce in Brisbane is around $1,000.

Q. How long does it take to finalise a divorce?

A. If you factor in the mandatory 12-month separation, getting divorced is a lengthy process. After an application is made to the court it may take several months for your divorce order to be granted (after the 12 months separation), although it can take longer if your case is complicated.

Q. What if I have been married for less than 2 years?

A. Couples who have been married less than 2 years must either attend couple’s counselling and obtain a certificate or seek special permission from the court to proceed with a divorce without the certificate.

Q. What if I don’t know the whereabouts of my spouse?  

A. You can still apply for a divorce if you do not know the location of your spouse. However, you must be able to show that you have attempted to contact your spouse.

Q. Can I still get divorced in Australia if I was married overseas?

A. You can still file for a divorce in Australia even if your marriage took place abroad, provided you meet these conditions:

  • You are an Australian citizen or an Australian resident
  • You regard Australia as your permanent home.

If your marriage certificate isn’t in English, you will need to provide a translated version.

Q. Do I have to attend court?

A. It depends on your circumstances. Unless you are required to attend court in person, the lawyers handling your divorce will usually attend for you.

Q. Will getting divorced affect my superannuation?

A. It almost certainly will. After getting divorced, you should nominate a new beneficiary of your superannuation. You may also need to change your will. Superannuation is property so if you are looking at getting a divorce it is important to get legal advice from a family law specialist about a property settlement. Your ability to bring a property settlement application to the court ceases 12 months after a divorce order has been made.

Speak with One of Queensland’s Largest Family Law Firms

To get in touch with an experienced divorce lawyer in Brisbane, contact us. As one of Queensland’s largest family law firms, our combined knowledge of divorce law is exceptional. Contact our Brisbane City office today to find out how we can assist you throughout your divorce proceedings.

Client Testimonials

Your team’s communication with me was exceptional, I knew exactly what was happening.
A.A., Eatons Hill
The professionalism and reliability delivered by Amy Honan was fantastic. I had an urgent matter around my property sale and Amy offered to provide assistance over a weekend if I required it – that’s above and beyond!
E.F., Nundah
So pleased to have had a good, sound and knowledgeable firm.
C.W., Brookfield

I really liked the personable service by Michael Lynch Family Lawyers, the simple plain language you adopt and everyone’s patience.

A.O., Kedron
Amy, thanks very much to you and your team. Throughout my dealings with MLFL I have been continually impressed with your level of professionalism and, in particular, your understanding of circumstances and the articulate way you conduct yourself. I was completely satisfied with today’s outcome and without your experience and expertise in family law I doubt that the result would have been achieved.
M.R., West End
I always felt that the service provided by Michael Lynch Family Lawyers was of a high standard. Each time, after appointments I came away feeling secure. Keep doing what you are and maintain the ‘family feel’ that permeates your services.
C.W., Brookfield
Amy’s work was extremely professional but above all she has a manner and wisdom in dealing with people under stress. I will be recommending your firm to anyone that requires assistance.
K.H., Augustine Heights
Michael Lynch Family Lawyers always gave me competent and knowledgeable advice. I was consistently kept up to date. The meetings and phone calls were kept business-like, yet caring and thoughtful of my emotional state at the time. Thank you.
J.S., Holland Park
Your newsletters are great, I appreciate them.
K.B., Carina
I liked my solicitor keeping things as simple as possible.
S.M., Clayfield
My lawyer acted with professionalism in all her dealings with me and with the lawyer on the other side. I was always kept in the loop. I liked her approach. Thanks.
D.S., Coorparoo
Michael Lynch Family Lawyers have really listened to me. I felt confident my case was handled well. The law has changed recently, and I did not feel that a previous law practice I spoke to was suitably up-to-date.
P.B., Carindale

My solicitor is a good listener. My documentation maintained the high moral ground.

S.S., Hamilton
Thank you for providing me with a professional yet empathetic approach to gain the best outcome for me. My solicitor was excellent in explaining the processes and in representing me in Court. You have great customer service!
T.V., Everton Park
I appreciate you being upfront with fee estimates. You also have a fantastic website and the seminars REALLY helped to get me focussed.
T.C., Tarragindi

You, guys, provide extraordinary service.

A.O., North Brisbane
I was impressed by my solicitor’s attention to detail and her concern for me, and that the process was explained to me and that I understood it at all times.
B.W., Chapel Hill
The staff at Michael Lynch Family Lawyers were great. Everyone was fantastic, professional, understanding, caring and always communicated with me. I knew I was in good hands.
A.A., Eatons Hill
I appreciate my lawyer’s professional approach and her being on top of my situation.
N.S., Mt Gravatt
Amy, thank you. You have been diligent, accurate and pro-active for the entire duration of my matter. I appreciate it.
R.P., Cleveland

Michael Lynch Family Lawyers know what they are talking about.

R.M., Warwick
I really appreciated the happiness of your secretarial staff.
G.C., Clayfield
Thank you, you placed my needs first, you were aware of the need to reach a final result and not get caught up in the personal issues of the other party.
S.L., Moranbah
I like your friendly service and the ability to speak to my solicitor directly.
R.G., Wishart
Your team is professional, warm, friendly and real.
N.R., Crows Nest

I was always confident that I was getting the very best advice.

T.S., Flinders
May I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to you and your staff for the excellent professional services I received. In a word, priceless.
D.H., Hendra

Michael Lynch Family Lawyers are easy to deal with, and your systems are good.

D.T., Ferny Grove

I was very impressed with the initial interview. Everything was well-explained, and the advice was honest about what I should expect.

C.M., Morningside

Your staff is knowledgeable, professional and very calm.

A.C., Helensvale
My family lawyer was very helpful in assisting me to combat a very ugly situation without stooping to the low levels that the other solicitor attempted to take us.
M.J., Manly
If I need a family lawyer in the future I’ll be heading to Michael Lynch Family Lawyers again.
C.W., Brookfield

I’m very glad ‘Michael Lynch Family Lawyers’ is my lawyer and not the other side’s solicitor.

S.S., Hamilton

Thank you, you kept me sane in a difficult situation and gave me the encouragement and the confidence to keep going. You made me feel extremely comfortable.

A.M., Chambers Flat

At Michael Lynch Family Lawyers I got professional and ‘no-nonsense’ advice, costs were within quoted amounts and my matter was resolved quickly – well done!

L.R., Ascot
Many thanks for your assistance – life is now great – I’m moving on.
J.K., Mansfield
My solicitor provided a personalised service, prompt and quick responses and cost information prior to my commitment.
G.C., Southport
I like that my lawyer treated me like a friend and kept jargon to a minimum. She was easy to contact and kept me informed.
L.R., Samford
Thank you for your ongoing conciliatory approach in this matter and as always I appreciate your level headed advice. I certainly feel that I ended up with the right Solicitor.
S.C., Nundah
A personalised and professional service. Information has been clear and provided timely to assist my decision-making.
S.S., Hamilton
Lovely to deal with and provides a balanced view in what are very difficult circumstances.
A.C., Morningside
Thank you for the outstanding legal advice you have provided and professionalism in which you conduct yourself. I am truly thankful that it was you who represented me.
M.T., Stafford
Michael is very personable and very good at covering the material and explaining the strategy.
J.O., Hawthorne

My lawyer was the most knowledgeable of all lawyers I spoke to when looking for a lawyer. Michael Lynch Family Lawyers showed professionalism.

R.R., Brighton

Thank you for being very personable, professional and always providing me with the most appropriate advice in my times of difficulty. The other party’s lawyers were extremely aggressive, while Michael Lynch Family Lawyers remained calm and professional.

S.D., Parkinson
Amy, thank you for all that you have done during this matter. You impressed me with your professionalism from our initial meeting, and you have proven beyond doubt, to have had the skills and knowledge required. You are a credit to the company, and I would highly recommend you to anyone in a similar situation.
R.P., Cleveland
Thank you for the great newsletter. Your article on “Coping with Christmas” is brilliant – clear, caring and helpful. Thanks again!
C.T., Bribie Island

I have appreciated the way that you and the staff at your firm have handled my situation. I would especially like to mention the professional and caring way my lawyer conducted my case, I am deeply grateful and extremely happy with the results. I will be referring others to your service.

J.H., Wellington Point

Thank you for helping me through this difficult time. You have been caring, compassionate and efficient. Some of my divorcing friends have not been so fortunate. In my mind, you are the best family lawyer in Brisbane. If anyone I know needs a good family lawyer, I will tell them to speak to you. Thanks again.

B.T., Clayfield
I was guided through a really difficult time with expertise of Michael Lynch Family Lawyers. I am more than happy with the outcome of mediation.
J.H., Windaroo
Michael, thank you again for your presence here yesterday. We really appreciated the clarity and accessibility of your presentation. It is a rare thing to find somebody who not only has expertise, but also has a skill in communicating it.
J.S., Brisbane

I just wanted to get in touch to say thanks for helping me get through my custody and settlement. Thanks again to you and your staff. You have had a significant positive impact in my kids’ lives!

B.S., Brisbane

Thank you Debra for all the work you did for me, you both made the process manageable and brought sense to the chaos.

R.B., Toowong

I would like to thank your firm for the support and compassion shown while dealing with my matter.

C.M., Brisbane

Thank you very much to everyone at Michael Lynch Family Lawyers. Thank you for helping me get my life back and make a fresh start. To have that fresh start without fear and anxiety is priceless.

A.A., Perth

Many thanks to Stephanie for her help and support through this time, I was incredibly impressed with her work.

L.K., North Lakes

We had such a positive experience with Michael Lynch Family Lawyers, and we highly recommend their services. Meticulous attention to detail, attended quickly to every additional request we made, and made sure we always knew exactly where we were every step of the way. Our lawyer took what was such a stressful and emotional time for our family, and made the process feel so smooth and seamless.

N.B., Brisbane

My lawyer has been an amazing help through this stressful time. I will remember her help for the rest of my life. Thank you.

J.H., Brisbane

After utilising the mediation services team recommended by your organisation, my ex-partner and I were able to reach some interim agreements about parenting. I am incredibly grateful for the advice provided by Debra Effeney; and found your firm’s services to be exceptionally professional. If we needed to consult a family lawyer in the future, we would have no hesitation in reconnecting with your firm.

K.M., Paddington