How to get a divorce in Australia if married overseas?

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Get A Divorce In Australia If Married Overseas

You are able to get a divorce in Australia even if you were married overseas if one of these conditions apply to you:

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.

Another example:

  • You are your wife are both from India and got married in India but want to get divorced in Australia.
  • You have been living in Australia for the last 2 years.
  • Your visa is due to expire and you have applied for another visa to stay for an extra 2 years in Australia.

In this instance, you will be eligible to apply for a divorce, as you consider Australia to be your home and you have lived in Australia for the last year.

We help many people get divorces in Australia even if they were married overseas.

Our lawyers speak English, Mandarin, Hindi, Arabic, Punjabi and Vietnamese, so feel free to get in contact with us.


Things to consider – married overseas divorced in Australia

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?

If you want to divorce in Australia if married overseas, 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.


International student divorce in Australia

If you are an international student and you are looking to divorce in Australia, we can assist with your case.

Whilst divorce may be difficult in your country of origin, you may be eligible to apply in Australia for your divorce, as it has easier divorce laws.

You will need to satisfy the criteria of Australian jurisdiction, being that you consider Australia to be your place of residence and that you have been residing in Australia for at least the last 12 months.

If you satisfy these criteria, as well as the other criteria for a standard divorce, you will be eligible for an international student divorce in Australia.

International divorce Australia

You may be overseas and looking to get an international divorce in Australia as:

  1. You may be an Australian citizen or permanent resident;
  2. You may have been married in Australia.

We assist clients internationally to obtain divorce orders whilst they may be outside of Australia.

If you need assistance in this regard, you will need to have evidence showing that you are an Australian citizen, or that you are have been married in Australia.

How to file for divorce if you got married overseas

If you want to file for divorce if you got married overseas, the process is relatively the same as if you were married in Australia.

International marriages are recognised in Australia, meaning that as long as the marriage certificate from the overseas country is in English, or translated to English by a NAATI translator, then an Australian court will accept it for the divorce.

You will still need to meet the criteria for jurisdiction, meaning that you have lived in Australia for at least 12 months prior to the divorce application.


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