Getting a Divorce in Australia When Married Overseas


Navigating divorce procedures can be intricate, especially when the marriage occurred overseas. In Australia, eligibility for divorce after an overseas marriage hinges on specific criteria.


You can 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.

Learn what steps you can take next


To clarify any confusion, the law will be applied to the following scenario.

Mixed Nationalities and Overseas Marriage

  • 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 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.

Both Spouses from Overseas Married in Their Home Country


  • You and 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 divorced 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.

Considerations When Seeking Divorce in Australia After Marriage Overseas

  1. Non-English Marriage Certificate: If your marriage certificate isn’t in English, it must be filed in court after translation. The translator needs to swear an Affidavit confirming their qualifications, the accuracy of the translation, and that the attached copy of the certificate is genuine.

  2. Serving the Divorce Application Overseas: When your spouse resides abroad and serving them the Divorce Application becomes challenging, taking all reasonable steps is crucial. You may apply to the Court for substituted service or dispensation, necessitating an application in a case and an affidavit. After serving your spouse overseas, a waiting period of at least 42 days before the court hearing is typically required.

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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 before the divorce application.

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.

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