Deciding to file for a divorce is a significant step, and understanding the process can make the journey smoother. In Australia, you do not need to show that one spouse was at fault to obtain a divorce order. That is, the Court does not consider the reason(s) the marriage ended. The divorce process involves several essential steps, as follows:

Step 1: Confirm Eligibility

Before commencing the divorce process, ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. To file for divorce in Australia, it’s essential to establish that your marriage has irretrievably broken down, with a separation period of at least 12 months. You will also need to show that either you or your the other party to the marriage:

  • regard Australia as your home and intend to live in Australia indefinitely, or 
  •  are an Australian citizen by birth, descent or by grant of Australian citizenship, or
  • ordinarily live in Australia and have done so for 12 months immediately before filing for divorce.

If the marriage has been for less than two years, counseling is necessary before applying.

Step 2: Complete the Application

Obtain the Application for Divorce form from the Federal Circuit and Family Court website or access it online through the Commonwealth Courts Portal. This form requires details about your marriage, separation date, and arrangements concerning any children from the relationship. If filing jointly, both parties must sign the application.

Step 3: Lodge the Application

File the completed application with the Federal Circuit and Family Court. This can be done either online or through traditional mail. A filing fee applies unless a fee reduction or waiver is applicable due to financial constraints.

Step 4: Serve the Application

For sole applicants, serve a copy of the application to your former partner. Adhering to specific service rules is crucial, and guidance can be sought from the court regarding acceptable methods of service.

Step 5: Attend the Court Hearing

In cases where the divorce is uncontested, all criteria are met and where there are no children under the age of 18 years, you will not be required to attend the hearing. However, if you’re the sole applicant, attending a court hearing might be necessary. During this session, the court will review the application before granting the divorce if satisfied with the circumstances.

It’s important to recognize that these steps provide a general overview of the divorce process in Australia. Individual situations can vary, and seeking legal guidance or consulting a family lawyer is advisable. Legal professionals can offer personalized advice and support tailored to your specific circumstances, ensuring a smoother and more informed divorce process.

Should you require assistance and advice in relation to the divorce process, please contact our experienced team of family lawyers.