There are some situations where a divorce or separation can be resolved outside of court.
In these instances, you and your partner can go through a dispute resolution service - a quick, simple, and cheap alternative. These services are Government-funded, and will take care of filing your parenting plan or consent orders with the Court. You can find a list of dispute resolution services on the Family Relationships website.
There are, of course, a number of situations where a court hearing is unavoidable. These include being the sole applicant, if you have a child under the age of 18, not being able to locate your partner, or if you can't reach a settlement through a dispute resolution service.
Generally speaking (and remember, every situation is different) you may need to attend the local Family Court and apply for a financial order. There are two types of financial orders. The first is a ‘property order’, which deals with property, income, and financial resources. The second is a ‘spousal maintenance order’, which covers the financial support of each party.
The Family Court will try to encourage you to resolve the situation with your partner first, as they require people applying for financial orders to have attempted dispute resolution before being able to file an application.
Find more information about dispute resolution on the Family Court website.