Family Court of Western Australia

Serving a divorce application

Service is the process of giving a court document to the other party.

Divorce applications require special service, as it is important to show that your spouse is aware you have initiated divorce proceedings, and knows what you have said in the application.

Remember - If you and your spouse have made a joint application together, you do not need to serve the application on each other.

Once you have eLodged your application, you will have to serve it on your spouse. There are two methods of service:

After serving the documents, you have to eLodge proof of service and corroboration to the Court.

Service if your spouse is residing overseas

The requirements of service differ depending in which overseas country your spouse resides. You should seek legal advice about the special requirements.

The normal service rules do not apply to service of a document in a country that is a party to a convention to which Australia is also a party regarding legal proceedings concerning civil and commercial matters.

The relevant information (and forms) for family law matters is contained in Parts IIAB and IIAC of the Family Law Regulations - Service under the Hague Service Convention and Service in Countries that are parties to Conventions other than the Hague Service Convention.

There are also special rules if the spouse resides in a non-convention country (see Family Court Rules 2021 137 and 138).

See the Attorney General's Department website for further information about overseas service.

Timeframe for service

After eLodging your application, you will need to select a date for your first hearing. This date sets the timeframe for serving the application. The documents must be served:

  • If your spouse is in Australia - at least 28 days before the hearing.
  • If your spouse is overseas - at least 42 days before the hearing.

Your application needs to have been eLodged and accepted by the Court before you can serve it.

Corroboration of service

If your spouse does not respond to the application or attend the hearing, the Court requires additional evidence that the application was served. The additional evidence includes you providing an affidavit swearing that:

  • You provided a photo of your spouse to the server (using the Affidavit of Proof of Identity) or
  • You recognise your spouse’s signature on the Acknowledgment of Service (using the Affidavit of Proof of Signature).

Service Forms

More information

The following pages have more information on the divorce application service process:

This flow chart sets out the steps you need to take to ensure there is proper service and corroboration of your Divorce Application on your spouse (the respondent), depending on whether they will cooperate with service.

Last updated: 10-Apr-2024

[ back to top ]