Basic steps to getting a divorce in Australia
1. Complete an Application for Divorce
You (or your lawyer if you have one) can use the:
- Divorce Kit
- Application for Divorce
Swear or affirm and sign the Application for Divorce before a lawyer, Justice of the Peace or other authorised person, such as a notary public. You can find these in the Yellow Pages of the phone book.
Make two photocopies of the Application for Divorce.
At the Family Law Courts (or the Family Court in Western Australia), file:
- the original and two copies of the Application for Divorce, and
- a copy of your marriage certificate.
You will also need to pay a fee or file an Application Exemption form or an Application for Waiver of Court Fees form.
5. Receive a hearing date
The Court gives you a file number and a time and date for a hearing.
6. Receive the sealed Application for Divorce and brochure
Joint application – the Court will keep your original Application for Divorce and give you and your spouse a sealed copy of the application and an information brochure ‘Marriage, Families and Separation’.
Sole application – the Court will keep your original Application for Divorce and give you two copies of the sealed application and information brochure ‘Marriage, Families and Separation’
7. Serve papers
If you applied for divorce with your spouse (a joint application), you both keep one copy of the Application for Divorce and the brochure.
If you applied on your own, you must serve a sealed copy of the Application for Divorce and information brochure on your spouse:
- at least 28 days before the hearing if your husband or wife is in Australia
- at least 42 days before the hearing date if your husband or wife is overseas
For more information follow the above left link at ‘In this section’ to the page titled ‘Service of documents’.
8. Attend the hearing
If there is no child of the marriage aged under 18 years, you are not required to attend the court hearing. This applies for both sole and joint applications.
If you have made a joint application and there is a child of the marriage aged under 18 years, neither you nor your spouse is required to attend the court hearing.
If you have made a sole application and there is a child of the marriage aged under 18 years, you must attend the court hearing unless circumstances prevent you from attending. You may be able to attend by telephone.
9. Outcome of hearing
If your divorce application is successful, the Court will grant a divorce order. The order is finalised (usually one month and one day after the divorce is granted).
Once the divorce order takes effect, the Court will send a Certificate of Divorce to you and your spouse individually or to your lawyer if you have one.