How to apply for a divorce in Australia

Throughout our lives, many positive things happen to us, such as new job opportunities, good health, and marriage. But it does not mean that there are no negative events, such as financial hardship, unexpected death of any loved ones, and getting a divorce from your spouse. Divorce and separation especially can be emotionally and financially draining.

It is not always racked and ruined, and there are ways to handle sensitive issues like divorce and separation amicably. Failure to prepare and educate yourself will likely trap you in lengthy processes, increasing the financial cost. It becomes even more complicated when a long-term relationship, children, and assets are involved. So, in this article, we will explain how to apply for divorce in Australia peacefully.

1. Check the eligibility Criteria.

 Some eligibility criteria must be met before filing for divorce in Australia.

  • The marriage has been irreparably shattered.
  • Divorcing parties must have been separated for at least 12 months.
  • Both parties must meet the requirements for residency and citizenship.
  • The person filing the divorce must pay the filing fee.
  • Children’s arrangements must have been made.
  • If the couple intending to get a divorce has been married for less than two years, they must attend counseling.

After checking the eligibility criteria, one can file for divorce.

2. Get a Legal Advice

Get a Legal Advice


Many divorcing couples choose to prepare and file their applications in Court. There are many people who are not well versed with the legal system and may require the assistance of a lawyer. However, if you are a de-facto couple or married couple filing for divorce in Australia, you must comply with the Family Law Act 1975, which governs the Australian divorce application. When contemplating divorce, three things must be kept in mind. You must both thoroughly understand the circumstances because it will affect both parties involved. The second thing is to be well-versed in your divorce case. The third and last step would be clear about the legal process, which saves you money, time, and effort. You can get a consultation from a family lawyer melbourne to understand your legal rights and responsibilities before moving forward with divorce.

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3. Prepare your Documents

Prepare your Documents

All applicants seeking a divorce must provide a copy of their marriage certificate and other required documents. The marriage certificate must be original; otherwise, if you were married in Australia, you can provide the ceremonial certificate or the certificate provided by the registry of births, deaths, and marriages. Certain circumstances may necessitate the submission of additional documents, such as if your marriage certificate is not in English or if you are relying on visa residency requirements.

4. Getting your application ready

The next step is to prepare your divorce application, which can be done in two ways. You can file a joint application for divorce, in which you and your ex-spouse apply for a divorce together, and both parties must sign. The other option is to use a sole application, in which you can apply alone, and only your signature is required. You can also hire a private lawyer to assist you in preparing the divorce application, which can cost up to $1000 or more. After that, you can use the Commonwealth Court’s Portal to file your application. You can apply for divorce here safely and cost-effectively.

5. Notify your ex-spouse (For sole divorce Applicants)
Notify your ex-spouse

After you have completed the Application, the next step is to notify your ex-spouse about the proceedings. You can go ahead if your ex-spouse agrees to the divorce and is willing to sign the Application, then you can file a joint application. This means you’re both ready to file for divorce without a fight. If your ex-spouse does not agree with you or does not want to sign the divorce application, you must serve them with the notice at least 28 hours before the hearing, and if they live abroad, the time limit can be 42 days.

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6. Sign divorce papers before a qualified witness

The most crucial step after preparing your application is to sign the divorce papers in front of qualified eyewitnesses. Most divorce applications in Australia are signed before a justice of the peace. You can contact your local council or search online for your justice of the peace. When signing your application, you must either swear an oath on the bible or make an affirmation of truth, stating that the information in your application is true and accurate to the best of your knowledge.

7. Filling divorce with the Court

Filling divorce with the Court

The next step would be to file the following documents with the Family Law Courts

  • Original Application of divorce document and Two photocopies of it.
  • A copy of the marriage certificate
  • Any other supporting document stipulated according to the situation.

It is your wish if you want to file your divorce with the local family court registry or want to file it by mail. A registered post is a much better option because it saves you the court filing fee and may qualify you for a fee reduction. The court will process and enter your divorce Application into its system once you have completed it. Then you will be assigned a court hearing date, and the Court will stamp both the original and photocopies of your Application with the Court Seal. Because the family court now stamps them, they will be referred to as sealed documents. You can then serve this sealed copy of these documents to your ex-spouse.

8. Court Hearing

Court Hearing

If your divorce documents are in order, then Court will make a divorce order. The court order will get official after one month and one day of the court hearing. There is no compulsion to attend the court hearing if you have filed a joint application. But if you have made a sole application and have children above the age of 18, then you will need to attend the court hearing. 

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Divorce is never easy, and it will have an impact on both your emotional and financial health. It can be very tedious if you don’t have the necessary knowledge, so arm yourself with legal know-how. Rather than fighting all the time, try to work out the financial issues and who will have custody of the children with your ex-partner amicably. The more maturely you handle the situation, the more peaceful it will be for you and your family.


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