How to apply for a joint divorce

If you and your spouse both consent to getting a divorce, you can file a joint divorce application. You apply for a divorce by starting a file and creating an ‘Application for Divorce’ on the Commonwealth Courts Portal. You can access the Court portal here.

You and your spouse will need to agree on the information within the Application for Divorce, including but not limited to the date of separation and details of any care arrangements in place for children. Both parties are required to sign an Affidavit affirming that the contents of the application are true and correct.

Who can apply for a divorce?

To be eligible to apply for divorce, you and your spouse must have been separated for at least 12 months and meet the residency requirements. The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia can make a divorce order in the event you or your spouse:

  • Regards Australia as their home and intends to live in Australia indefinitely
  • Is an Australian citizen by birth or descent
  • Is an Australian citizen by grant of an Australian citizenship
  • Ordinarily lives in Australia and has done so for 12 months immediately prior to filing for divorce.

What documents are needed to apply for a joint divorce?

You will be asked to upload the following documents:

  • A copy of the marriage certificate
  • A copy of any property or children’s Orders made between you and your spouse
  • If you are an Australian citizen by grant of Australian citizenship, a copy of the Citizenship Certificate
  • If either party has changed their name, evidence of the name change.

You may be required to file additional documents depending on your circumstances.

What is the cost?

The Court charges a filing fee of $1,060 at the time your Application for Divorce is processed.

If both parties to the application are entitled to a reduction, there is a reduced filing fee of $350. You will be entitled to apply for a reduction of the divorce filing fee if at least one of the following applies to both you and your spouse:

  • you are the primary cardholder of a health care card, pensioner concession card, Commonwealth seniors’ health card or any other card certifying entitlement to a concession issued by Services Australia or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  • you are in receipt of Legal Aid funding
  • you are receiving youth allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY payments
  • you are under the age of 18
  • you are an inmate of a prison or otherwise legally detained in a public institution.

Do I have to attend Court?

No. Neither party is required to attend the Court hearing when a joint Application for Divorce is filed.

The application will be listed before a Registrar of the Court in the absence of both parties. You will be notified of the outcome of the hearing via the Commonwealth Court portal (and email if you update the file settings to request that you be notified of any activity on the file) typically within one to seven days after the hearing date.

What is the typical time frame for a joint divorce?

For an uncontested divorce where no issues arise, you might expect the entire process to take between three and six months.

Once the application is processed online, you will be given the opportunity to select a hearing date. The hearing date might be in several weeks or a few months, depending on the caseload at the Court registry where the application will be heard.

If all is in order at the time of the divorce hearing, the Court may grant a divorce. The divorce is not final right away, it becomes final one month and one day after the Divorce Order is made.

Does the Court deal with how property will be divided in my Application for Divorce?

No. The effect of your Application for Divorce is to terminate your marriage. The Court does not deal with other matters, such as parenting arrangements or property settlement. If you require the Court to determine such matters, you are required to file a separate Court application. 

It is important to note that you and your spouse have 12 months from the date a divorce becomes final to initiate Court proceedings for property settlement.

Get help now

This can be a confusing and complex process, so let us do the work for you. We offer fixed fee online uncontested divorces and you can access information regarding our online divorces here.

For legal advice on your family law matter, contact us today.

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