To file for divorce, you first need to be eligible to do so in Australia. You or your spouse must have proof of citizenship or proof of legal residence in Australia, you must have been separated for at least 12 months and one day and you must have a valid marriage certificate.
Filing for divorce involves completing an application for divorce form, attaching to it certain required documents as well as any additional documents, and submitting the application to the court. The preferred way to file for divorce is online. This can be done through the Commonwealth Courts Portal at www.comcourts.gov.au.
To file for divorce through the portal, register an account and click to start a new file. You can also file by post or in person with hardcopy documents. No matter the method of filing you choose, you will be required to pay a filing fee, or a reduced filing fee if you are eligible. You can make a sole application of a joint application. If you make a sole application and there are children of the marriage, you will need to attend court.
If you make a joint application with your spouse, it is not necessary to attend court, even if you have children under 18. An important part of the sole application process is serving the divorce application on your spouse. This means formally notifying them that you have filed for divorce. It is recommended that you get legal advice when filing for divorce. A lawyer can help you accurately prepare your application and advise you of the extra documents of processes you may need.
Remember that filing for divorce is only about ending your marriage. For additional orders concerning a property settlement, spousal maintenance or the custody of any children of the marriage, you will need to make further court applications.