Family Court of Western Australia

Married less than two years

If you have been married for less than two years, there is an extra requirement when you apply for a divorce. You have to attend marriage counselling to consider reconciling with your spouse.

You prove this by filing a certificate signed by the counsellor when you make your application.

The two years is calculated from the date of the marriage to the date of applying to the Court for a divorce. You and your spouse must also meet the standard requirement to have been separated for at least 12 months before applying.

This page provides information on meeting this requirement, and also how to apply for an exemption.

Meeting the counselling requirement

To attend a counselling session before applying for divorce, you need to:

  • Make an appointment with a Counsellor. See the list of services below.
  • Invite your spouse to the counselling appointment. Give your spouse advance notice of the time and place of the appointment. If they are unable to attend, a separate appointment can be made. The appointments can be at separate venues when necessary if, for example, your former partner lives outside the metro area.
  • Attend the counselling session. At the session, the counsellor will discuss reconciliation. At the end of the counselling session, the counsellor will complete a certificate as evidence you attended the counselling and considered reconciliation. You should take a blank certificate to the session.

If the reconciliation attempt was not successful, file the certificate with your divorce application.

Applying without counselling

You can apply without meeting the requirement in some special circumstances. You will have to explain to the court why you did not undertake counselling. You can either:

  • explain the circumstances when you apply, or
  • ask the Court’s permission to file an application

When you apply

To explain why you have not met the counselling requirement when you apply, you need to file the following documents with your divorce application:

  • a letter or an Application in a Case (Form 2), requesting the Court to proceed with the hearing.
  • also file an affidavit with the facts explaining the special circumstances in your case.

The application will then be listed in a divorce list. If the Court is satisfied that special circumstances exist in your case, the divorce hearing will proceed at that time. If the Court is not satisfied that your application should proceed without counselling, you may not be entitled to recover your filing fee.

Request permission to file an application

To request permission to file a divorce application without attending counselling, you need to file:

  • an Application in a Case (Form 2) seeking permission to file your divorce application
  • an affidavit explaining the special circumstances.

The application will be listed in a general list (approximately 4 weeks from the date of filing). A Magistrate will decide whether you can apply for divorce without having met the counselling requirement. If you are given permission, you can then file your divorce application. Note that there is no filing fee for an Application in a Case (Form 2).

As with any other divorce application, you will need to serve the documents on the other party.

Counselling services


456 Hay Street, Perth
Telephone 08 9325 6644

Relationships Australia (WA) Inc

115 Cambridge Street, West Leederville
Telephone: 9489 6363

Branches at:

112 Forrest Road, Armadale
Telephone: 9399 1015

1 Ord Street, Fremantle
Telephone: 9336 2144

70 Davidson Terrace, Joondalup
Telephone: 9301 2000

27 The Crescent, Midland
Telephone: 9250 1242

124 Spencer Street, Bunbury
Telephone: 9721 5288

Lotteries House, 7 Anzac Place, Mandurah
Telephone: 9535 5711


23 Adelaide Terrace, East Perth
Telephone: 9325 7033


23 Adelaide Terrace, East Perth
Telephone: 9263 2050

1/87 Aberdeen Street, Albany
Telephone: 1 800 812 511

Last updated: 1-May-2019

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