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Applications for Divorce are filed online via the Commonwealth Courts Portal. A divorce hearing is before a Judge or Registrar of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.
Currently, Applications for Divorce for same-sex couples can’t be filed online. To file an application, contact the Family Law National Enquiry Centre.
If you are don’t know how to apply, you should get legal advice.
To register for an account:
To apply for a Divorce Order:
Save and validate each section of your application as you go so you do not lose your work. Information you have saved will be kept for 90 days.
When completing your application you must include the following information:
Checklist: Applying for a Divorce Order
If you have safety concerns about including any information in the application, you should get legal advice.
You can make a sole application or a joint application, if you and your spouse agree to get a divorce.
If you make a sole application:
If you make a joint application:
Applying for a divorce is a separate process to applying for Parenting Orders. However, if you and your spouse have a child under 18 years old, the court needs to be satisfied that you have made proper arrangements for your child before it will grant you a divorce.
If the court is not satisfied that appropriate arrangements have been made, it may not grant you a divorce.
A child of the marriage includes a child:
After you have filled out your application you must scan and upload your supporting documents, including (where relevant):
You must complete the Application for reduction of payment of divorce or decree of nullity form before you submit your application.
Step by step guide: Applying for fee reduction
After you have uploaded your documents, you can create a draft copy of your application by selecting ‘Print preview’. Check to make sure the information you have included is correct and you have uploaded all relevant supporting documents.
After you have checked your application, you can then select ‘Lock and continue’.
You will not be able to make any changes to your application after you lock it.
After you have completed your application, you must print the Affidavit for eFiling Application to be signed by an authorised witness (Justice of the Peace or lawyer).
Don’t sign your Affidavit until you are ready to have it witnessed.
Sample: Affidavit for eFiling Application (Divorce)
If you are making a sole application, you must sign the Affidavit for eFiling Application and have it witnessed by an authorised person (Justice of the Peace or lawyer).
If you are making a joint application, both you and your spouse must sign the Affidavit for eFiling Application. You don’t have to get your signatures witnessed at the same time.
If you can’t both sign the same Affidavit, you can each sign individual Affidavits and upload them both to the portal.
Once you have signed and had your Affidavit for eFiling Application witnessed, you must scan and upload it to the Commonwealth Courts Portal.
The next step is to download and print the ‘Marriage, families and separation’ brochure. Check the box when you have done this.
If you have made a sole application, you will need to include this brochure with the documents to be served on your spouse.
You must choose the court location that you want your application to be heard.
If you did not apply for a fee reduction, you must choose a payment option.
Enter your payment details and submit the payment.
Your application can’t proceed without a successful payment.
After you have paid the fee, you must choose a date and time for the hearing.
The dates shown in the calendar are the next available dates.
When the court registry receives your application and supporting documents, it will stamp them with the court seal and upload a sealed copy to the portal. When you file your documents online, this is an electronic process, with the court seal added to them online.
You will need to download and print the sealed documents. If, after a couple of days, your application has not been sealed, you should contact the registry to check that your documents have been received.
If you have made a sole application, you will need to serve the documents on your spouse. If you have made a joint application, you will need a copy of the documents for your records.
Step by step guide: Serving your spouse
If your spouse is in prison, there are different rules that you must follow to serve them with your application. It is important that you follow these rules so that the court can hear your application.
Step by step guide: Serving your spouse in prison
You must serve your spouse at least 28 days before the court hearing, if they are in Australia. If your spouse is overseas, you must serve them at least 42 days before the court hearing. If you don’t, the court may adjourn or dismiss your application.
For further information, see Divorce: I want to apply on the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia website.