Divorce counselling for marriages less than 2 years
If you want to apply for a divorce from a marriage that has only lasted less than 2 years, you are required to attend divorce counselling with a family or nominated counsellor, prior to submitting your application for a Divorce.
The counsellor must provide a certificate that confirms you and your spouse attended counselling and that the counsellor discussed the possibilities of reconciliation with you and your spouse.
This certificate must be attached to your divorce application when you file it with the court.
Do I have to attend divorce counselling?
Where can I find a divorce counsellor?
To find a divorce counsellor, you can visit
- familyrelationships.gov.au, or
- call 1800 050 321
Note it is important that you choose a qualified counsellor who can complete a counselling certificate issued by the Court. Otherwise, the session may not fulfil the procedural requirements for a divorce application.
What happens if I cannot attend divorce counselling with my spouse?
Sometimes you may not be able to attend counselling with your spouse. In this case, you must seek the Court’s permission to apply for a divorce.
You can do this by filing an affidavit with your application to divorce. An affidavit is a sworn written statement prepared by a witness or party that presents the facts of the case, as one knows it, to the Court.
An affidavit, in this case, must explain why you and your spouse have not attended counselling.
This can include not being able to locate your spouse, or if your spouse refuses to go.
You must also detail in the affidavit your attempts to find them or give notice inviting them to counselling and any ‘special circumstances of your case.
For example, a special circumstance could be where there is a history of domestic abuse in the marriage and it would be dangerous for you to attend counselling with your spouse.
The affidavit must be signed by the person preparing the affidavit and sworn in front of a person such as a lawyer or a Justice of the Peace.