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Whether you have to go to the divorce hearing depends if you:
are seeking substituted service or to dispense with service.
This section covers:
If you and your spouse file a joint divorce application, you don’t have to go to the divorce hearing (even if you and your spouse have a child under 18 years old), unless you have said you will attend in your application. If you don’t go it’s important to check what happened at the hearing.
If you file a sole application, you don’t have to go to the divorce hearing if:
You should consider going if there are any complex issues, for example, separation under one roof, it was a short marriage or there are problems with the marriage certificate.
You have to go to the divorce hearing if:
You will need to attend the divorce hearing if:
You can ask to attend the divorce hearing by telephone or video link if it is difficult for you to attend in person.
To do this, you must:
It is up to the court whether to grant your request or not.
Your safety is important. If you feel unsafe or are experiencing any violence, contact the police, a domestic violence counsellor or get legal advice.
Instructions: Instructions for completing a Telephone/video link attendance request
Sample: Sample Telephone/video link attendance request
It is important that you prepare for your divorce hearing so you can tell the court about your application and answer the court’s questions.
You should read the documents that have been filed with the court and plan what you want to say.
If you need an interpreter or other support from the court, you should notify the court at least two weeks before the hearing.
Step by step guide: Preparing for the hearing
If you are concerned about your safety, you should tell the court staff at least five working days before the hearing so that they have time to make arrangements to protect your safety.
This can include:
If there is an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) in place concerning you and your spouse, you should have included information about this in your application. If you didn’t, you should get legal advice.
For more information, see Do you have fears for your safety when attending court? on the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia website.
At the divorce hearing, the court will consider the documents that have been filed by you and your spouse and anything you want to say and then make a decision.
The court may decide to:
Step by step guide: Going to the hearing