Article Title:Your guide to divorce in New Zealand
Author or Daily News staff
Published on:8th May 2016 - 12:38 pm
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Story ID:18243
Text:If you have come to the decision to end your marriage or civil union and are thinking about applying for a divorce, here is a breakdown of the steps you will need to take and the requirements to do so.   Whatever you reasons are for a divorce, the only ground for legally dissolving a marriage or cvil union is “irreconcilable breakdown of the marriage or civil union”. To prove this, you need to show that you are living apart and have done been for two years before the application was made. We all know that this is not always possible, so if you have lived together within that two-year period, you must be able to satisfy the court in your application that you did this to try to get back together. You can try to work things out more than once, as long as the total time you spend together trying to reconcile is not more than three months. You can apply for a divorce if you are married, in a civil union and New Zealand is usually home for at least one of you, this means that to apply New Zealand must be one person’s permanent home, even if you are or have been living overseas for a time. The divorce can be asked for by either, or both of you. The term for this is “domiciled” and you can be considered domiciled in New Zealand when you were born in New Zealand and have not made a home in another country with the intention of living in that country for an indefinite time. You could still be considered to be domiciled in New Zealand if you are living or working in another country but are not planning to stay there indefinitely. Alternatively if you were born overseas but have made a home in New Zealand with the intention of living here for an indefinite time. So what happens when you are overseas? According to the Ministry of Justice, if you were married or entered into a civil union overseas, you can apply for a Dissolution Order in New Zealand, as long as one of you has been domiciled in New Zealand when the application is made. Once you have decided on a divorce and meet the requirements, you can apply to the Family Court. It is not usually necessary to appear in Court to do this, but you can choose to if you want. As the Dissolution Order usually takes effect after one month, you may choose to both appear in court if you would like this to take effect earlier than the standard month period. This is unless you’re making the application alone and the other person does not agree with it, in this case you will need to appear in court. If the other person doesn't respond, you won't have to appear in court. If both people agree with the divorce and choose to make a joint application: You can apply for a Dissolution Order by jointly filling out the forms and affidavits. Your documents should then be delivered personally or mailed to a Family Court by you or your lawyer. This is known as filing an application. Your joint application will be referred to a Court Registrar, unless you have decided to appear in court. The Registrar will check you meet the requirements and then make the Dissolution Order. The order will take effect one month after the day it is made. If you or your husband, wife or civil union partner wish to appear in court, a hearing date will be set. You will both need to go to the court on this day.If the Judge makes the Dissolution Order, it will take effect the same day. Once the Order takes effect, copies will be posted out to both of you. When making a solo application: Your application will be made up of the forms and your affidavits, and can be delivered personally or mailed to a Family Court by you or your lawyer. This is known as filing an application. An affidavit is written evidence, signed and sworn or affirmed as being true before a witness. If you’re applying, you or your lawyer need to make sure your husband, wife or civil union partner receives the documents. The legal term for this is serving the documents. The court does not serve these types of applications. Find out how to serve documents here. Once the documents have been served, the other person has the option to either defend the application, or do nothing. The person then has 21 days to act on this after being served papers. If they choose not to act, the divorce will be processed by the Registrar. For more information on divorce in New Zealand, take a look at the Ministry of Justice website. Daily News staff - 8th May 2016
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