What are the steps to getting a divorce in Australia?

Dec 10, 2023

Understanding the Divorce Process in Australia

Divorce can be a challenging and emotionally draining process. In Australia, it's crucial to understand the legal requirements and steps involved to ensure a smooth and efficient process. This guide will walk you through the steps to getting a divorce in Australia.

Step 1: Ensure You Meet the Eligibility Criteria

Before initiating the divorce process, you need to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. You or your spouse must be an Australian citizen, reside in Australia and regard it as your permanent home, or ordinarily live in Australia and have done so for at least 12 months before filing for divorce.

Step 2: Separation

The next step is separation. Australia requires a minimum separation period of 12 months before you can apply for a divorce. This period is to ensure that there's no reasonable likelihood of resuming married life. It's possible to live together in the same home during separation, but you need to prove that you were indeed separated during this period.


Step 3: Preparing the Divorce Application

Once the separation period has elapsed, you can then prepare the divorce application. You can apply for a divorce individually or jointly with your spouse. The application can be completed online through the Commonwealth Courts Portal.

Step 4: Filing the Application

After preparing the application, the next step is to file it. You'll need to pay a filing fee, although in some cases, you might be eligible for a reduced fee. Once the application is filed, you'll receive a court hearing date and a copy of the application stamped by the court.

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Step 5: Serving the Divorce Papers

If you filed the application individually, you need to serve the divorce papers to your spouse. This has to be done at least 28 days before the court hearing if your spouse is in Australia, or 42 days if they're overseas.

Step 6: Court Hearing and Finalizing the Divorce

The final step is the court hearing. If all the documents are in order, you might not need to attend the hearing, especially in cases where there are no children under 18. If the court is satisfied that proper arrangements have been made for any children involved, and the separation period has been observed, the divorce will be granted. The divorce order will become final one month and one day after the hearing.

Going through a divorce can be a stressful time, but understanding the process can help make it a bit easier. Always consider seeking legal advice to help you navigate through the complexities of the divorce process in Australia.

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