Appealing a Divorce Order
If you want to appeal a Divorce Order, you must do this within 28 days of the Order being made at court and before the order comes into effect.
Once the Divorce Order has taken effect, you can’t file an appeal.
If you are unsure whether you can appeal, you should get legal advice.
When you can appeal
You can appeal a Divorce Order if there has been a miscarriage of justice because of:
- suppression of evidence, or
- any other circumstance.
You cannot appeal simply because you didn’t want the court to make a Divorce Order.
Appealing a Divorce Order will stay (stop) the order from taking effect until the Court hears your appeal.
How to appeal
You must complete:
- an Application for Review, and
- an Affidavit, setting out the reasons for your appeal.
You can get a copy of the form from:
- your nearest court registry
- the Family law forms page on the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia website.
You must file your completed form with the National Appeals Registry by email or post. You can’t file your form on the Commonwealth Courts Portal.
You will have to pay a fee. If you have a government concession card or are experiencing financial hardship, you may be eligible for a fee reduction.
For more information, see Family law court fees on the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia website.
You will also have to buy a copy of the transcript of your divorce hearing. Transcripts are provided by an independent service provider, and you can’t ask for a fee reduction.
Once your form is processed by the registry, you will be given a date for the hearing.
If you don’t attend the hearing, the Court may dismiss your appeal.
Serving your spouse
You must serve a sealed copy of your Application for Review on your spouse within seven days of filing.
You can do this by:
- delivering it to their home address
- sending it by registered post
- email - if they have provided an email at the address for service
- arranging for another person over 18 years old to serve them, such as a friend, family member, sheriff officer, or professional process server
- sending it to your spouse’s lawyer – if their lawyer has agreed to accept service.
Affidavit of Service
To prove you have served your spouse, you must file an Affidavit of Service.
The Affidavit must be completed by the person who served your spouse, and it must be witnessed by an authorised person (Justice of the Peace or lawyer).
You can file your Affidavit of service:
- online, via the Commonwealth Courts Portal
- in person
- by post.
You should send your completed form to the courts postal address, not the street address.
For more information, see How do I serve family law documents? on the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia website.
After hearing your appeal, the Court may:
- dismiss your appeal
- rescind the Divorce Order and, if it thinks fit, order that the Application for Divorce be re-heard.
The Court may make a costs order against you if:
- your appeal is dismissed
- you file a Notice of Discontinuance
- you abandon your appeal.