top of page
Blue Skies

Australia's no fault system of divorce & separation explained

Image by Aaina Sharma

No fault system in Australia

Way back in 1975 the family law system in Australia became a ‘no fault’ system. Since then, this has meant that you don’t need to show who was to blame for the relationship ending.

Some people try to use the family law process can be used to air their grievances about their ex’s behaviour. This isn’t a good idea and isn’t tolerated by the court.

The ‘no fault’ system is designed to reduce hostility between separating couples and to encourage people to reach agreement through mediation and dispute resolution.


Is conduct relevant?

In the majority of cases, a person’s conduct during a relationship won’t influence the outcome of any dispute about children, property or maintenance.

There are situations where conduct can be relevant, such as a history of mental illness, substance abuse or domestic violence. These things will be taken into consideration when determining what’s best for children and parenting arrangements for the future. Conduct can be relevant in financial cases, but only in certain limited circumstances.

Can you be punished for separating?

Our family law system is generally not punitive, which means people aren't punished for their conduct during a relationship.

The aim is to reduce the stress and conflict that can arise following separation and help families resolve their differences amicably.

What next?


Do you need some guidance and help getting started? Our Separation Guide. It's full of really useful ideas and explanations and will take you through the things you need to do following separation, step by step.

bottom of page