Everyone who marries does so with the intention that it will last forever. However, life has its twists and turns and things change over time.
In the past, married people who wished to separate had to prove that they qualified for a divorce. The most common criteria were adultery, cruelty, or desertion without cause for at least two years. Applicants had to prove that their estranged spouse had committed a matrimonial offence while they themselves had not (or if they had, it should be overlooked). Failing to prove their case meant having to stay in their unhappy marriage.
Australia is a no-fault jurisdiction. It does not matter anymore who did or did not do something during an unhappy marriage. All that is needed is to demonstrate that there is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage through a separation of at least 12 months with no prospect of reconciliation. All time and energy are instead spent on looking towards moving towards the future. Agreements are negotiated and made about the fair division of property. Adequate care arrangements are put in place to make sure children are protected from harm and enjoy meaningful relationships with their parents. As a result, it is common for many people to refer to property division and parenting disputes as a “divorce”. However, divorce only actually means the official ending of a marriage. Putting it that way makes divorce seem quite straightforward, but there are several aspects and issues to consider.
An Australian marriage is defined as being union of 2 people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life. The word people means adults at the time of the wedding. The word people also now includes couples in same sex relationships.