​ሕግንና ደንብን በተመለከተ እርዳታ ማግኘት ይፈልጋሉን? - Amharic | هل تحتاج لمساعدة قانونية؟ - Arabic | ܤܢܝܼܩܵܐ ܝ݇ܘ̤ܬ ܠܗܲܝܵܪܬܵܐ ܩܵܢܘܿܢܵܝܬܵܐ؟ - Assyrian | Need Legal Help? - Auslan | Treba li vam pravna pomoc? - Bosnian | Burmese â Need Legal Help? | 需要法律帮助吗? - Chinese Simplified | 需要法律幫助嗎? - Chinese Traditional | Trebate li pravnu pomoć? - Croatian | ضرورت به کمک قانونی دارید؟ - Dari | Wïc Kuɔɔny në Wɛ̈t Löŋ? - Dinka | آیا به کمک حقوقی نیاز دارید؟ - Farsi | Gadreva na Veivuke Vakalawa? - Fijian | Kailangan ninyo ba ng tulong na panglegal? - Filipino | Besoin d’aide juridique ? - French | Χρειάζεστε βοήθεια σε νομικά ζητήματα - Greek | क्या आपको कानूनी सलाह चाहिए? - Hindi | Butuhkan Bantuan dalam Masalah Hukum? - Indonesian | Hai bisogno di assistenza legale? - Italian | ត្រូវការជំនួយលើបញ្ហាផ្លូវច្បាប់ឬទេ? - Khmer | 법적인 도움이 필요하십니까? - Korean | Ви треба ли помош со правни работи? - Macedonian | कानूनी सहयोग चाहिएको छ? - Nepalese | Necessita de ajuda com questões jurídicas? - Portuguese | Вам нужна юридическая помощь? - Russian | E Manaomia Fesoasoani i Mea Tau Tulafono? - Samoan | а ли вам треба помоћ у правним питањима? - Serbian | Ma u baahan tahay Caawimmad xagga sharciga ah?- Somali | ¿Necesita ayuda con cuestiones jurídicas? - Spanish | சட்ட உதவி தேவையா? - Tamil | ท่านต้องการความช่วยเหลือทางด้านกฎหมายไหม? - Thai | Fiema’u ha tokoni Fakalao? - Tongan | Yasal Danışmaya İhtiyacınız mı var? - Turkish | Cần Được Giúp Đỡ Về Luật Pháp? - Vietnamese |

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Step-by-step guide icon Step by step guide - Applying for Substituted Service Orders

Alert IconIf you are concerned about your residential address being disclosed to your spouse or are afraid to contact them, you should get legal advice. 

Step 1: Get your documents

You will need to complete the following forms:

  • Affidavit
  • Application in a Case.

You can download these forms from Court forms on the Federal Circuit Court of Australia website. 

You don’t need to download the Application in a Case if you eFile and select the guided process through the Commonwealth Courts Portal.

Before you start your application, you should get all the documents you want to attach to your Affidavit. 

Hint iconYou should consider attaching documents that show your attempts at trying to contact and locate your spouse, including emails and text messages.

Step 2: Complete your Affidavit

Before you complete your Application in a Case, you must prepare your Affidavit. 

In your Affidavit you must include:

  1. an introduction
  2. details of how you have tried to contact and locate your spouse to serve them.

Your introduction must include:

  • your date of birth and current age 
  • where you were born, if outside of Australia
  • your spouse’s date of birth and current age
  • where your spouse was born, if outside of Australia
  • the date you began living with your spouse
  • the date of your marriage
  • the date of your separation 
  • details of any children of your marriage
  • details of current arrangements for your children, including parenting plans or orders.

In the body of your Affidavit, you must explain all the steps you have taken to contact and locate your spouse, including:

  1. details of when you last spoke to or saw your spouse, and the circumstances surrounding that contact
  2. if your spouse lives overseas, details of where they are living, how long they have lived there, and when, they are coming back to Australia
  3. details of your attempts to find your spouse, including:
    • contact you have made with their close friends and family
    • contact you have made with their employer
    • searches you have undertaken. For example, the electoral roll, social media and email accounts
    • any notices you have posted in the newspaper
  4. your spouse’s last known address
  5. any reasons why your spouse can’t be contacted, for example, a history of homelessness or domestic violence
  6. the costs of trying to locate your spouse, including the financial difficulties you would experience paying those costs
  7. any other relevant information. 

You should annex any documents that show how you have attempted to contact your spouse, for example, emails or text messages.

Alert IconDon’t sign your Affidavit until you are ready to have it witnessed. 

Step-by-step guide iconStep by step guide: Preparing your Affidavit 

Icon - sample/instructionsInstructions: Instructions for completing an Affidavit - Substituted Service

Icon - sample/instructionsSample: Affidavit - Substituted Service

Step 3: Get your Affidavit witnessed

Once you have prepared your Affidavit you must sign it and have it witnessed by an authorised person (Justice of the Peace or Lawyer).  

Step 4: Complete your Application in a Case and Affidavit

Completing your application online

To eFile your Application in a Case online:

  1. log onto the Commonwealth Courts Portal
  2. open your divorce file by clicking on the file number
  3. go to ‘File a new application’
  4. select that you are filing on your own behalf
  5. read and confirm that you have understood the eFiling obligations
  6. select ‘Application in a Case’
  7. select ‘Federal Circuit Court of Australia’
  8. select ‘Guided’ as your preferred application process.
  9. enter a title for your application, for example, Application in a Case
  10. enter a description of your application, for example, Substituted Service Orders
  11. click ‘Create’
  12. complete the questions in each part, saving and validating them as you go.
  13. upload your Affidavit 
  14. complete the Statement of Truth 
  15. click ‘Save’
  16. submit your application. 

Completing your application by hand

If you are completing your Application in a Case by hand, you will need to include:

  1. the location of the registry, for example, Parramatta, Newcastle
  2. your full name and your spouse’s full name
  3. the orders you are seeking. 

Step 5: File your Application in a Case and Affidavit 

You can file your completed Application in a Case and Affidavit in person at a Court registry.  You will need to take two copies so that the Court can keep one.  

To find a registry near you, see Court Locations New South Wales on the Federal Circuit Court of Australia website. 

Alert IconDon’t file your original Application in a Case and Affidavit - only file photocopies.

You can also eFile your application and Affidavit:

  1. Log onto the Commonwealth Courts Portal
  2. Open your divorce file by clicking on the file number
  3. Go to ‘File a new application’
  4. Select that you are filing on your own behalf
  5. Read and confirm that you have understood the eFiling obligations
  6. Select ‘Application in a Case’
  7. Select ‘Federal Circuit Court of Australia’
  8. Select ‘Unguided’ as your preferred application process
  9. Enter a title for your application, for example, Application in a Case
  10. Enter a description of your application, for example, Substituted Service Orders
  11. Click ‘Create’
  12. Upload your documents including:
    • Your Application in a Case
    • Your Affidavi
  13. Click ‘Save’
  14. Submit your application. 

Icon - sample/instructionsInstructions: Instructions for completing an Application in a Case - Substituted Service

Icon - sample/instructionsSample: Application in a Case - Substituted Service

Once you have filed your Application in a Case and Affidavit, you need to prepare for the hearing.  

Step 6: Go to the hearing

At the hearing, the Court must decide whether you have made all reasonable attempts to serve your spouse with the Application for Divorce and supporting documents. 

If the Court decides that you have, it will make Substituted Service Orders.  You should make a note of these directions and comply with them. Your matter will be adjourned to a future date to allow you to serve your spouse. If the Court decides that you have not made all reasonable attempts to contact your spouse, it may adjourn your application to a future date and ask you to try again. 

For more information, see Going to the hearing

Step 7: Serve your spouse

If the Court has granted you Substituted Service Orders, you should serve your spouse, as ordered by the Court, as soon as possible. 

Alert IconIf you don’t serve your spouse, your application may be adjourned (again) or dismissed. 

Step 8: Complete and file an Affidavit of Service (General)

After you have served your spouse, you must complete an Affidavit of Service (General). This is referred to as an Affidavit of Compliance in the Substituted Service Orders. This tells the Court you have served your spouse in accordance with Court Orders. 

You can download an Affidavit of Service (General) from the Federal Circuit Court of Australia website. 

After you have completed an Affidavit of Service (General), you should attach any proof of compliance, and you must get it witnessed. 

Alert IconDon’t sign your Affidavit until you are ready to have it witnessed. 

Icon - sample/instructionsInstructions: Instructions for completing an Affidavit of Service (General) – Substituted Service

Icon - sample/instructionsSample: Affidavit of Service (General) – Substituted Service

Alert IconIf you don’t know how to complete the Affidavit, you should get legal advice.

Once your Affidavit of Service (General) has been witnessed, you must file it with the Court. You can do this online or at a Court registry. The Court will usually specify dates for Affidavit to be filed.

Once you have filed your Affidavit for Service, you should prepare for the hearing. 

For more information, see Going to the Hearing.