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Before you begin, you should get all the documents you will need to file with your Application for Divorce, including:
This will save you time because you can’t complete your application until you have these documents.
You will need to get certified copies of the documents. You don’t give the original documents to the court.
To get a divorce, you must prove to the court that you and your spouse are married.
You can do this by giving the court a copy of your Marriage Certificate.
If you don’t have your Marriage Certificate, you will need to apply to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the state you were married in for a copy and pay the fee.
If you were married in NSW, see Marriage Certificates on the NSW Government website.
If your Marriage Certificate is not in English, you will need to file an English translation and an Affidavit: Translation of Marriage Certificate completed by the translator.
To download a copy of this form, see Affidavit translation of marriage certificate on the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia website.
You may have to pay a fee to have your Marriage Certificate translated.
Instructions: Instructions for completing an Affidavit: Translation of Marriage Certificate
Sample: Affidavit: Translation of Marriage Certificate
For more information, see Interpreting & Translation on the Multicultural NSW website.
If you can’t get a copy of your Marriage Certificate, you must prepare an Affidavit explaining why.
Step by step guide: Preparing your Affidavit
To apply for a divorce in Australia you or your spouse must:
If you were born overseas and have become an Australian citizen, you must provide evidence of your citizenship with your application. You can do this by giving the court a copy of your Citizenship Certificate or Australian passport.
If you were born overseas but live in Australia, you must provide evidence that you are living here legally. You can do this by giving the court a copy of your visa documents.
If you and your spouse have been married less than two years, you will need to get a Counselling Certificate from a family law counsellor to file with your Application for Divorce.
The two years is calculated from the date of the marriage to the date of filing the Application for Divorce.
Even if you have been married for less than two years, you and your spouse must still be separated for at least 12 months before you can apply for a divorce. Alternatively, you can wait until you have been married for more than two years before you apply for a divorce.
For more information and for assistance in finding a family law counsellor, see Separation and counselling on the Family Relationships Online website.
Instructions: Instructions for completing a Counselling Certificate for applicants married less than 2 years
Sample: Counselling Certificate for applicants married less than 2 years
If you are unable to attend counselling with your spouse, due to domestic violence or for some other reason, you must ask the court’s permission to apply for a divorce. You ask the court’s permission by filing an Affidavit – Marriage less than 2 years non-filing of counselling certificate with your Application for Divorce. In your Affidavit, you will need to explain:
Your safety is important. If you feel unsafe or are experiencing any violence, contact the police, a domestic violence counsellor or get legal advice.
Step by step guide: Preparing your Affidavit
If your surname on your Application for Divorce is different from your married or maiden names, you must:
For more information, see Step by step guide: Preparing your Affidavit.
If you change your surname back to your maiden name after submitting your Application for Divorce, you must file a copy of your Change of Name Certificate with the court before the hearing.
If you don’t have a copy of your Change of Name Certificate you will need to get one.
For more information, see Replace certificates after a change of name certificate on the NSW Government website.
A Family Violence Order is an order made by a state or territory court to protect a person from family violence. Family Violence Orders are also known as Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs).
If there is a Family Violence Order in place concerning you and your spouse, you must include information about this your Application for Divorce. You have a duty to provide the court with all information and documents relevant to your case. You can attach a copy of any Family Violence Order to your application.
You must provide the court with information about any interim or final court orders relevant to you and your spouse including:
You can attach a copy of the documents to your application.
Once you have all of your supporting documents, you may need to prepare an Affidavit to file with your Application for Divorce.
Step by Step Guide: Preparing your Affidavit