Going through a separation or divorce can be a difficult and stressful time. It's important to ensure that you have made attempts to reconcile with your husband or wife before filing for a divorce and that proper arrangements have been made for the care of any minor children of the marriage.  If considering a divorce, the Court encourages you both to read the brochure Marriage, Divorce and Separation. 

1. Can I get a divorce?

In Australia, divorce is 'no-fault,' which means you can both choose to move on without proving that one party caused the marriage to break down. However, there are some requirements that should be met. Our quick and easy Divorce application will step you through these eligibility requirements. 

There are 2 different ways to apply for a divorce. Either by a:

  1. Sole application - if you are applying by yourself; or
  2. Joint application  - if you are applying together with your spouse. 

You can prepare your own application without a Lawyer and save thousands in legal fees using the online divorce application or download the divorce kit to complete yourself. 

2. Marriage under 2 years

If you have been married less than 2 years, you may need to show the Court that you have attempted to reconcile with your spouse, including attending marriage counselling.

3. Separation under one roof

You must be separated from your spouse for at least 12 months before applying for a divorce. You may still be considered separated whilst 'living under the same roof.'  

If you are still living under the same roof as your spouse, you will need to explain to the Court why you are still living together.

  4. Step-by-step guide

This is a summary of the instructions. The complete instructions are included with the online divorce form and divorce kit:

Step 1. Complete the divorce forms
Obtain a copy of your Marriage Certificate. 
Complete the Application for divorce.  

Step 2. Sign the application
Sign the application in the presence of a Justice of the Peace (JP), Lawyer or a qualified witness in your state or territory.

Step 3. Photocopy
You need to make copies of the signed divorce application and supporting documents. 

Step 4. Submit to the Court
The next step is to file the application, which means submit, with the Court. 

Step 5. Pay the fee
You must also pay a Court fee for divorce ($900 as at August 2018). You can apply to have this fee reduced to $300 for financial hardship. 

Step 6. Receive hearing date and documents
The Court will give you a file number and a hearing date. 

Step 7. Serve your spouse
If you applied on your own, you must then 'serve' your spouse. See the Divorce Service kit for further instructions about service (included with the divorce kit and online divorce). 

Step 8. Attend the hearing
In certain circumstances you can apply to the Court in writing to appear by telephone.

  5. Court hearing

If there are children under the age of 18 years and you are making a sole application, you will be required to attend the hearing to address any questions the Court may have regarding the care and welfare of your children. 

When your matter is called, the presiding Registrar will consider all documents filed by both parties and will then proceed by either:

  1. Granting the Divorce; or
  2. Giving directions to provide evidence to satisfy the Court that all procedural requirements have been met. 

  6. Finalising the divorce

 Once your divorce is final, you are free to remarry at any time. 

This article contains information of a general nature only and is not specific to your circumstances. This is not legal advice and should not be relied upon without independent legal or financial advice.