Divorce Separation Property Settlement Lawyers NSW

Married overseas and no marriage certificate, can you divorce in Australia?

Short answer. Yes.

How? Read on to find out.

An Application for Divorce in Australia is made to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. You can apply solely or jointly, we can help you with either situation.

To obtain a divorce you need to satisfy the Federal Circuit Court of the following:

  1. You have a valid marriage;
  2. You have been separated for at least 12 months before you apply for a divorce (can be separated under one roof);
  3. Your marriage has broken down irretrievably; and
  4. If there are children under 18 years of age, you have made appropriate arrangements for their care.

For marriages that take place in Australia, the requirement that the marriage is valid is satisfied by producing a marriage certificate.

This is made difficult if you are married in an overseas country and you do not have a marriage certificate and cannot apply for a replacement.

If you married overseas and do not have a marriage certificate you must satisfy the Federal Circuit Court of the following:

  1. Your marriage is recognised as valid under the law of the country where the marriage took place;
  2. A marriage certificate or other record or entry was issued by an authority that can issue that certificate in that country;
  3. You were both 18 years of age at the time of marriage (or at least 16 years of age);
  4. Neither yourself or your spouse were married to other people at the time of this marriage;
  5. Consent was given by both parties; and
  6. You are not in a prohibited relationship (for example; brother/sister; aunt/nephew).

You can satisfy the Federal Circuit Court of the above by preparing an Affidavit in lieu of marriage certificate. This document must be in the appropriate form and must include evidence that demonstrates to the Court that:

  1. You have a marriage that is recognised as valid under Australian law;
  2. You have a reasonable explanation as to why you do not have a marriage certificate to attach to the application;
  3. You have made sufficient and appropriate attempts to locate your marriage certificate; and
  4. You have made sufficient and appropriate attempts to obtain a replacement copy of the certificate of marriage.

It is important that any documents that you wish to provide to the Federal Circuit Court are translated into English by a qualified translator.

Please contact our helpful staff for advice and assistance preparing your divorce. Our advice and guidance will make it easy for you.


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