How to Guide – Divorce
Whether you are considering separation, have separated or are in the process of separating and are married, getting a divorce is something that you may need to consider.
This is a simple guide to applying for a divorce in Western Australia. This is not legal advice and we recommend contacting our offices for in depth answers if you wish to apply for a divorce.
You are able to apply for a divorce if you meet the divorce requirements.
Australian law has the principle of no-fault divorce. This means you only need to satisfy the Court that you are married, that you and your spouse have been separated for at least a year and there is no reasonable chance reconciliation.
- Separation – this is when a marriage has irretrievably broken down. The parties must be separated for at least 12 months before they can apply for a divorce. Sometimes parties can be separated and still live under the same roof. It is important to make a note of the actual separation date for your legal matter.
- Residency – The parties can apply for a divorce in Australia if either of them meet the residency requirements.
- Regard Australia as their home and intend to live indefinitely in Australia;
- Is an Australia citizen by birth or descent;
- Is an Australian citizen by grant of an Australian Citizenship;
- Live in Australia and have done so for 12 months immediately before filing for divorce.
- Arrangements for children – if there are children below 18, the parties will need to satisfy the court that there are arrangements for their day-to-day care and other aspects of their welfare. Sometimes this will include making a separate parenting application.
- If you are applying for divorce within two years of marriage, you cannot file an application for divorce unless you also file a counselling certificate or ask the court for permission.
- You may be able to seek an exemption from the counselling requirement if there has been family violence or abuse.
- If you are applying for divorce and have lived with your spouse at all within the last 12 months you will have to file an Affidavit explaining that you were separated living under the same roof, and also an Affidavit of an independent person outlining this.
Preparing your Documents
You will need to file your ceremonial certificate or a certificate provided by Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Sometimes the parties are married in another country and have a marriage certificate in a different language. If the marriage certificate is not in English, the parties must file an English translation of it and an affidavit from a translator. There is a form for the translator to complete called the Affidavit – translation of marriage certificate.
Applying for a Divorce
Parties can apply for a divorce through the online eCourts Portal of WA. You can access it following this link: https://ecourts.justice.wa.gov.au
There are various questions that you have to answer and can do so by following the prompts when you select to apply for divorce.
You can make a sole application or a joint application with your ex-partner.
An application for divorce is $990 as per the Family Court Fees dated 1 July 2022.
Once the Divorce documents have been lodged and the fees are paid, you will need to select a date and time for the hearing. The parties are not required to attend the hearing, unless you are making a sole application and have children under the age of 18.
If this is a sole application, the application and a Marriage, Families and Separation brochure must be served on the other party. An affidavit of service must be completed and filed with the Court.
The divorce does not become final until one month and one day after the divorce hearing.
If you have questions about getting divorce or need help with the Application feel free to call our offices on (08) 6559 7480.