How to get a divorce in Australia if married overseas?

Get A Divorce In Australia If Married Overseas

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.

Got questions? Speak to one of our lawyers.

Things to consider for an overseas marriage

There are further procedural issues that may arise if you want to get a divorce in Australia if married overseas. 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.

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.


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