Getting a divorce in Australia

Dec 10, 2023

Understanding Divorce in Australia

Divorce is never an easy decision, but understanding the process can help make it less stressful. In Australia, the process is governed by the Family Law Act 1975. It's important to note that the legal process of divorce only ends the marriage. It does not deal with issues such as property division or child custody. Those issues are dealt with separately.

Eligibility for Divorce

To apply for a divorce in Australia, you or your spouse must either regard Australia as your home and intend to live indefinitely in Australia, be an Australian citizen by birth, descent or by grant of Australian citizenship, or ordinarily live in Australia and have done so for at least 12 months before the divorce application.

Separation Period

Before you can apply for a divorce, you need to have been separated from your spouse for at least 12 months and one day. This is a mandatory requirement. If you have been living under the same roof, it is possible to be considered separated, as long as the relationship has ended.

separation period

Separation under one roof

If you and your spouse have separated but continue to live in the same home during part or all of your 12-month separation period, you will need to provide additional evidence to the court. This might include an affidavit from you and/or from an independent witness.

Filing for Divorce

The divorce application process involves filling out and filing a divorce application form with the Family Court. This can be done online. You can apply for a divorce by yourself, or together with your spouse. If you are making a joint application, you do not need to serve documents.

filing for divorce

Attending the Hearing

If there are no children of the marriage aged under 18 years, you are not required to attend the court hearing. However, if there are children of the marriage aged under 18 years, you (the applicant) are required to attend the hearing.

After the Divorce

Once the divorce is granted, it becomes final one month and one day later unless a special order is made by the court to shorten that time. You are then free to remarry. Remember, you should not plan to remarry until the divorce order is final.

after divorce

Getting Legal Advice

It's always advisable to seek legal advice when considering a divorce. A family lawyer can guide you through the process, help you understand your rights and responsibilities, and ensure that your interests are protected.