Applying for a divorce

A divorce  formally ends a marriage. You can apply for a divorce if you meet the divorce requirements. This page has information about the application process, and the before you apply section has information about divorce orders. 

 

Divorce applications are made online through the Commonwealth Courts Portal.  This page gives an outline of the process. You need to:

Note that the process is different if you make a joint application. Joint applications don't need to be served, and your application will be heard more quickly.

 

Prepare your documents

To make your application, you'll need access to a printer, scanner and a visa or mastercard. If you don't have a credit card, you can buy a pre-paid debit card through Australia Post.

There are certain documents you need to file with your divorce application.

All applicants need to file a copy of their marriage certificate, and there may be other documents depending on your circumstances. The marriage certificate you provide is not required to be an original or certified copy.

You can provide:

Circumstances requiring additional documents include when:

The additional divorce application requirements page has more information.

Complete the application on the Commonwealth Courts Portal

After preparing your documents, register for the Commonwealth Courts Portal. There's information on the Commonwealth Courts portal page about how to register.

After registering and signing in:

 

Print and sign your application

The next step is to print a copy of your application and the Affidavit of eFiling, and swear and sign it before an authorised witness, who is usually a Justice of the Peace or lawyer. The affidavit page has more information on having documents sworn.

If you are filing a joint application, both you and your spouse will need to swear the affidavit.

After your affidavit has been sworn, scan the sworn copy and upload it to the Commonwealth Courts Portal.

Finalise your application

Print the Marriage, Families and Separation brochure and select the check box.

Select a location where the application is to be heard. In WA this is the Family Court of Western Australia - Perth. If you filed a joint application you are not requried to attend court.

Pay the Application fee

You can pay the application fee using a Mastercard or Visa credit/debit card.

You may be eligible to pay a reduced fee if you meet certain criteria, or if you can show the fee would cause you financial hardship. See the fee reduction and exemption page for more information. 

Select a date and time for the divorce hearing

After successful payment you will be prompted to select a date and time for the divorce hearing. You must still select a date and time for the divorce hearing even if you are not required to attend court. See the will I have to go to court page for more information

Print the application

Print the document ready for service (sole application) and print a copy for your own records.

Serve the application

If you are filing the application on your own (a sole application) then you will need to arrange service of a copy of your application, and the Marriage, Families and Separation brochure, on your spouse. The person who served the application will need to complete an Affidavit of Service.

If you are making a joint application with your spouse, you do not need to serve the application.

File Service documents

You will have to provide evidence to the Court that the application has been served on and received by your spouse. This is done by filing the Affidavit of Service with the court. You will also need to corroborate service, by completing and filing an affidavit confirming the person served was your spouse. See the serving a divorce application page for more information.

Next steps

The next steps depend on whether you are making a sole or joint application.

Sole application

After you have filed and served your application, your spouse may file a Response to Divorce if they oppose the divorce. There are very few valid reasons to oppose a divorce. The main reasons are that: 

See responding to a divorce application for more information.

After your spouse has had an opportunity to respond, the Court will consider your application. See the divorce cases page under Using the Court for more information, including whether you will need to attend court.

Joint application

If you are making a joint application, the Court will begin considering your application after it has been filed. See the divorce cases page under Using the Court for more information, including whether you will need to attend court.

What happens if I cannot eLodge my application?

If you are unable to eLodge, contact the Court by email or the Call Centre on 08 9224 8222 for information about what you can do.


Last updated: 23-Nov-2020

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