How to get a divorce

Burbank & Brown provide you with some helpful tips to getting a divorce


You must prove to the court that your marriage with your former partner has irretrievably broken down and that there is no reasonable likelihood that you and your former partner will get back together.

You must be an Australian citizen, have lived in Australia and have done so for 12 months prior to filing for a divorce and regard Australia as your home and intend to live indefinitely in Australia.

You need to have lived separately and apart for at least twelve months. There are some exceptions however.

You generally must try marriage counselling if you have been married for less than two years before you apply.

How do I apply for a divorce?

You can make a sole application (an application on your own) or a joint application, if you and your former partner agree to make an application together.

You will need to complete an Application for Divorce, sign the application in front of a JP or lawyer and file your application and supporting documents with the court. You will need to pay a filing fee that is approximately $845.00. This amount is subject to change.

Once your application has been filed you will need to serve your application on the other party. If you are unable to locate the other party to serve them, then you should seek legal advice in relation to seeking an order to dispense with service or an order for substituted service.

You may be then required to attend the divorce hearing depending on your circumstances. If the divorce is granted, then you will receive a Divorce Order which becomes absolute or effective in one month and one day from the divorce hearing.

Important things to remember before and after you apply for a divorce

  • You can choose to remarry one month and one day after the Divorce Order is made
  • You can still apply for a divorce if you are still living under the same roof, but you will need to prove to the court that you and the other party have been separated for twelve months
  • If you can’t attend the hearing in person, you should request to appear by telephone and must do so by filing out an application to appear by telephone well in advance of the court date
  • The divorce hearing will only cover the ending of your marriage. You need to issue separate proceedings in relation to any matters that involve children and the distribution of property
  • A limitation period starts to run from the date of your divorce order. You have twelve months to issue proceedings for property settlement and/or spousal maintenance
  • If you do not institute proceedings within this time frame and you wish to in the future you will have to make a special application to the court for leave to proceed out of time
  • Once you are divorced you should review any will or power of attorney which you executed prior to your divorce and update these documents to reflect the change in your marital status

Need advice?

For more information regarding family payments, get in touch with Burbank & Brown.