1. Decide whether to apply only for a divorce or add other issues

Before you apply to the court for a , you have to decide whether to ask the court for:

  • a divorce only, or
  • a divorce and other court orders dealing with issues like , , , , and . Decision-making responsibility and parenting time used to be called and .

You don’t have to go to court and get a  to deal with these other family law issues. You can deal with them by making a separation agreement or by getting help from a family law professional like a mediator.

But you may choose to ask the court to deal with your family law issues when you apply for a divorce. This might be because:

  • You want a court order you can enforce.
  • You don’t think you can make an agreement with your partner, with or without the help of a lawyer or family law professional.
  • There is a history of partner abuse, mental illness, or drug abuse.

There is no time limit to get a divorce. But there are time limits for other claims. For example, you have 6 years from the date you separate or 2 years from the date of your divorce to make a claim to divide property.

If you and your partner agree on these other issues, you can ask the court to make orders about them when you apply for your joint divorce.

Agree on divorce only

You and your partner may only agree on getting a divorce, but can’t agree on your other issues. You can still ask the court for a divorce while you work on your other issues.

But if you have children, the court can’t give you a divorce if you haven’t made reasonable arrangements for them. This means the court checks to see if there is child support or other support arrangements for the children.

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