List of Steps to get Divorced

Checklist to follow to obtain an Australian Divorce 

An Application for Divorce in Australia does not have to be physically filed in Court or posted to the Court for filing.

In Australia, you can do your own Divorce Application and file your Application for Divorce online over the internet, saving time & money.

There is a usual procedure that everyone must follow to get a divorce in Australia.

What is the Procedure to get a Divorce: Steps To Do

A list of the steps you will need to follow to get divorced in Australia is:

  • If you are eligible (meet the required criteria) then an Application for Divorce can be prepared.
  • The Application can be by one person – a sole Application, or it may be a joint Application made and signed by both of you.
  • The completed and signed Application for Divorce is filed in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (part of the Family Court) together with a copy of the Marriage Certificate. If the Certificate is not in English then additional documents must be filed which normally means a translated copy of the Marriage Certificate and an Affidavit of an approved Translator. If part of the 12 month period you were separated was spent with you both living under the same roof, then Affidavits regarding this must also be filed.
  • When you file the Application for Divorce you must pay the Court Filing fee of $940.00 unless you are entitled to apply for a reduced fee in which case the filing fee is $310.00 (double check current filing fees here or here if you are from Western Australia.
  • The Application for Divorce is allocated a Hearing date in the Court.
  • If the Application is not a joint Application, the person applying for the divorce must serve a copy on their former husband/wife within a specific period before the Divorce Hearing date and then they must also file an Affidavit of Service (as well as an Acknowledgement of Service if appropriate) in the Court.
  • At the Hearing of the Application for Divorce, the Court will grant a Divorce Order (previously called a Certificate of Divorce) if it is satisfied regarding all of the above grounds for divorce and that the other spouse was served.
  • After the Court has granted a Divorce Order, the Court will make the Divorce Order final, one month and one day after the hearing date. It is only at that time, one month later, that the Divorce becomes ‘final’ and the Court will issue the Divorce Order to each spouse. You cannot remarry until the Divorce Order is final. It usually takes at least four (4) months for a Divorce Order to be issued from when you file an Application.

If you do not correctly follow all of the procedural steps, the Court may not grant your Divorce and may adjourn your Divorce Application to another date, to give you time to carry out any necessary steps you have not done.

If you want to complete an online application for Divorce you can access information on how to do that from the Federal Circuit Court of Australia’s website here or here on the Family Court of Western Australia’s website for Western Australian applicants.

Otherwise you can obtain the Application for Divorce Kit from the Family Law Courts website here for all Australian States and Territories except Western Australia. You are only to lodge an Application for Divorce in Western Australia online.

The Divorce Service Kit from the Family Law Court’s website can be accessed here  together with a YouTube video explaining serving divorce papers. This kit is applicable for all Australian States and Territories except Western Australia. There is a different Western Australian Kit for Serving your Divorce Application.

Divorce in Australia – More Information

Courts do not consider all issues when granting a divorce. The Court will not look at issues of property settlement at all and only ask questions about child support and parenting arrangements in a very brief manner. The issues the Court looks when considering your Application for Divorce at fully explained in our information sheet What things will a Court want to know to grant a Divorce.

How much your Divorce will cost you and how long it will take to get divorced are important questions you need to know the answer to. We also have a information sheet explaining How much will a Divorce cost and how long does a Divorce take.

You can read information in our other information sheets on What you need to do to be able to apply for a Divorce including information about the requirements to apply, overseas marriages, separations under the same roof and how periods of reconciliation are treated.

If you have been married for less than two years (including the period you have been separated) the court has additional requirements which are detailed in our information sheet Divorce for Marriages under 2 years duration.

Especially if you are representing yourself you should be prepared for what will happen in Court on the day of your Divorce hearing. Read more in our information sheet What happens at the Divorce Hearing.

Dealing with the most important issues surrounding your children, finances and property can leave you to overlook some very important legal issues which could affect your children and family. You should also know what is set out in our information sheet How does Divorce affect your Will, Superannuation, Life Insurance and family after death.

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