How to get a divorce in Australia if married overseas?

You must satisfy one of these three conditions

1. You or your spouse are an Australian citizen, or


2. You or your spouse think of Australia as your home, or


3. You and your spouse normally live in Australia and have lived in Australia for at least one year immediately before applying for a divorce


If one of these pre-conditions applies to your circumstances, then the Federal Circuit Court of Australia can hear your Divorce Application.


In order to clarify any confusion, the law will be applied to the following scenario. Imagine:


  • You are a citizen of Canada.
  • 6 years ago you were married to an Australian citizen.
  • The marriage took place in the United States of America.
  • You have separated from your spouse 2 years ago.
  • You now live in Singapore.
  • Your spouse lives in New Zealand.


Even though in this circumstance, you are neither an Australian citizen nor you nor your spouse ordinarily reside in Australia, under Australian law you would be entitled to get a divorce in Australia. This is because your spouse remains an Australian citizen.

Things to consider for an overseas marriage

There are further procedural issues that may arise if you were married overseas but seeking a divorce in Australia. Here are some questions that can arise:


What if my marriage certificate is not in English?


You must file your Marriage Certificate in court and it must be translated into English. The English translator must file an Affidavit:

  • Swearing that they have the qualifications to translate; and
  • that the translation is accurate; and
  • the attached copy of the marriage certificate is a true copy


What if my spouse is living overseas and I can’t serve them the Divorce Application?


You must take all reasonable steps to serve the Divorce Application to your spouse. You can apply to the Court for substituted service or dispensation of service if you are having difficulty serving the Application.  In order to apply, you will need to complete an application in a case and an affidavit, which are available at


Keep in mind that if your spouse lives overseas, after serving them the Divorce Application, you need to allow for at least 42 days before the court hearing.

How To Get A Divorce?
Application for Divorce
How much does a divorce cost?
How Long Will It Take For My Divorce To Be Finalised?
Do I Have To Attend Court To Get A Divorce?
What is a Divorce Hearing?
How to get a divorce in Australia if married overseas?
Divorce Counselling
Should I Change my Will After a Divorce?
Child Custody
What are the best interests of the child?
Where Will My Children Live?
What is equal shared parental responsibility in Australia?
Sole Parental Responsibility
Visitation Rights
Changing A Child Custody Agreement
Child Relocation After Divorce
How To Prevent My Child Going Overseas?
What is Supervised Contact?
Child Passport After Divorce
Property Settlement
How Much Will I get?
Will I Receive 50% of Everything?
Coming To An Agreement Outside Of Court
Do I Pay Stamp Duty To Transfer My Property After A Divorce?
Financial Agreements
What is a Prenup?
What Can I Put In A Prenup?
Is It Too Late For A Prenup?
What Are The Pros and Cons of Financial Agreements?
What Financial Agreements Are There?
How Do I Make Sure My Agreement Is Binding?
How Can I Get A Prenup Set Aside?
Consent Orders
Why do I need Family Court Consent Orders?
Application for Consent Orders
Breach of Consent Orders
Child Support
What is Child Support?
Apply for Child Support
Child Support Calculation
Changing Child Support
Family Mediation
5 Tips to Help Prepare for Family Mediation
What is a s60i Certificate?
Going to Court
Starting An Application
Filing A Response
Can You Be Separated And Live In The Same House?
Domestic Violence
ADVO – Apprehended Domestic Violence Order
Remove My ADVO
What Is Child Abuse?
Father's Rights After Separation
Formalise Your Agreement
Tip's For Fathers
De Facto Relationships
Definition of De Facto Relationship
Rights in a de facto relationship
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