Often, young people – and not so young people – jump into a relationship too quickly, then find several things about their partner they just cannot stand. Family lawyers are available to help you when a relationship goes bad and it is essential to take their advice to heart so that you remain safe and get through that divorce with the least possible emotional turmoil.

Lawyers would be the first to tell you it is important to follow the law, so here are some tips to help you know what the law expects – and what it does not.

  • If you decide on a divorce, you must be separated for 12 months before you can apply for one.
  • You may have to show that you’ve been to counselling if the marriage has not lasted over two years.
  • You don’t have to show cause or fault for a divorce.
  • You can be separated but still living under the same roof if moving out would cause financial hardship.
  • To prove you are separated you should sleep apart, tell your friends you’ve separated and not go out together socially.
  • You should not cook or wash for your ex if you are separated but living in the same house.
  • You should not have the same bank account if you are separated.
  • You need to take note of the day your separation first started. 12 months and one day after, you can apply online for a divorce, or have a lawyer do it for you.
  • A fee is applicable when applying for a divorce, but this can be reduced due to financial difficulties.
  • If your ex agrees to the divorce there will be no court hearing.
  • Getting a divorce is all about your relationship with your ex. It does not have anything to do with child custody or division of property/assets. These must be taken care of separately.
  • If you have minor children, a divorce will not be given unless satisfactory care arrangements have been made for them.
  • You can apply for full custody of the children, or choose to share it with your ex.
  • Visiting rights must be given to your ex to visit the children.
  • You cannot marry again until the divorce is finalised. It is wise not to set a date for the marriage until your divorce is actually through, in case there is a delay for some reason.
  • Marrying someone else before your divorce is final is illegal.
  • The above applies to a de-facto relationship.

Sometimes in a relationship it is easy to focus on all the bad things and none of the good things. If you don’t really want to get a divorce, remind yourself each day of your spouse’s good traits.