How To Get A Divorce
We explain how to get a divorce in 5 easy steps:
Step 1 – Proof of Marriage. This is normally done with a marriage certificate. If it is in another language then you will need to change it to English, however, if you don’t have a marriage certificate then our family law experts can assist you in getting one.
Step 2 – Proof of Separation. You must show that you’ve been separated for at least 12 months before filing your divorce application. If you are still living together in the same house, you can be considered to be separated. You don’t need to officially register your separation, however, you should take note of the date that you and partner do separate. An easy way to do this is to write an email to one another confirming the date of separation.
Step 3 – Care of Children. If there are children involved with the relationship, you must have some arrangement where the children are safe and are properly taken care of. The court must be satisfied that the children are not being neglected and have a place to stay.
Step 4 – Submit divorce application online. Preparing and submitting a divorce application is now an easy process. The easiest way to submit a divorce application is online. In order to do this, you will need to register with the Family Court. You can do so by clicking here.
Step 5 – Serve application on ex-partner. Once you have completed your application, you must serve your application on your ex-partner. You must give it to your ex-partner at least 28 days prior to the divorce hearing. If they live overseas, you need to allow for 42 days.
What happens after I file for Divorce?
After you filed for divorce you will receive a hearing date that will be about 8 weeks from the point of filing.
First of all, you must make sure that the application for a divorce must be given (served) to the other party at least 28 days before the hearing date. You can do this yourself or organise a professional company or lawyer to do this for you.
Once this is done, the court will grant a ‘decree nisi’, meaning that the marriage will end on a proposed date.
The proposed date is 1 month and 1 day after the decree nisi was granted.
This will be the date that your divorce is finalised.
How long will the divorce take?
Filling out your application form can be done in a day. From that time, you will need to lodge your application at the Federal Circuit Registry or online through the Comcourts portal.
Once you have submitted your application form, it can take approximately 3 months until your divorce is finalised.
After the form is processed the court will send you a copy of the court stamped document which you will need to prove that you are legally divorced. This completes the divorce process.
Divorce is the legal process under Australian Family Law for bringing an end to a marriage. It does not deal with arrangements for children or the division of property
How much will my divorce cost?
The application fee for a divorce is currently $865. The fee goes up every year.
You can apply for a fee exemption if you are experiencing financial difficulty.
The Family Court may accept your application if you can demonstrate that you are suffering from financial hardship.
The reduced fee is $290.
You will not be able to lodge your divorce application without paying the application fee.
The application fee must be paid at the beginning of the divorce process.
Do I need to pay a lawyer for my divorce?
You are able to complete this application yourself, however, due to the number of steps, we recommend that you engage a lawyer to do it on your behalf.
If you engage a lawyer to do your divorce they will charge you a fee for processing the paperwork.
You should always make sure that the law firm doing your divorce quotes you or offers you a fixed fee before you agree on anything.
Be aware that making a mistake in your divorce application will mean extensive delays in the whole process.
For those people who want to know how to get a divorce, you probably will be relieved to hear that you probably will not need to go to court.
Most cases in Australia do not require you to go to court for your divorce to proceed.
It will depend on whether there are children of the marriage, or if the divorce application is made jointly with you and your spouse.
If there is no child of the marriage aged under 18 years, you do not need to attend the divorce hearing.
If you have made a joint application, you and your spouse do not need to attend the divorce hearing.
If you have made a sole application and there is a child of the marriage aged under 18 years, you need to attend the divorce hearing unless there are special circumstances.
If your ex-spouse has, in their Response to Divorce, opposed the application, they must appear to the divorce hearing.
A child of the marriage includes:
- any child of you and your spouse, including children born before the marriage or after separation
- any child adopted by you and your spouse, or
- any child who was treated as a member of your family prior to your final separation; for example, a step-child or foster child.
If you do need to attend court, you can attend by yourself or with your lawyer.
A good lawyer may be in a better position to advise you on how to get a divorce.
Be prepared and ready to present your case on the day of your court hearing.
Do as much research as possible and gather all the information for your case.
Make sure you have all your documents clearly organised and mark the documents that have already been filed with the Court.
It’s a good idea to bring a notepad and pen with you in case any orders are made by the court.
Some people find it helpful to sit in a courtroom before the hearing if they have never been in a court before.
Most court hearings are heard in open court so you can do this anytime.
There are no strict rules about what you should wear in court, however, the court is a formal place and you should try and wear a suit or something that shows your respect towards the court.
Make sure that you check that you are attending the correct court.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that the Family Court handles divorce applications when it is actually the Federal Circuit Court handles all divorce applications.