How to apply for a divorce

family lawyers

Once you have been formally separated from your ex-partner for 12 months, you can apply for a divorce through the family courts. Our family lawyers in Cairns will provide you with advice about the divorce process, costs, and relevant time limits so you can make decisions with confidence.

We understand that going through a separation and divorce is a stressful time and knowing what to do and when, can be a steep learning curve. To help ease the burden, we have put together an overview of the steps you need to take to apply for a divorce.

Divorce steps

When you are ready to apply for a divorce, the procedure is straightforward and outlined below:

  • Complete the Application for Divorce, available online via the Commonwealth Courts Portal.
  • Ensure you have a copy of your marriage certificate and any existing orders (including parenting orders, property orders or domestic violence orders) when preparing the application online.
  • Once the Application has been prepared online, print and sign the Affidavit for eFiling Application (Divorce) in the presence of a qualified witness, such as a lawyer.
  • Upload the Affidavit for eFiling Application (Divorce) online to the Commonwealth Courts Portal and submit the Application.  There is a court filing fee (a reduced fee is available if you have an eligible concession card).
  • If you have filed a sole application, you will need to serve the application on your spouse. Service must be in accordance with the court rules. A lawyer can help you with this.
  • Attend the Divorce Hearing (if necessary).
  • The Divorce Order will be made available to download from the Commonwealth Courts Portal, one month and one day following the Divorce Hearing.
  • If you and your spouse have been separated for 12 months, but still live in the family home together, you can still proceed with a divorce. In these circumstances, we recommend you get expert legal advice.

An Application for Divorce does not finalise your financial relationship with your spouse or formalise arrangements for your children. Family law matters such as child support and custody, will require separate agreements or court orders.

Once a Divorce Order is made, you have a period of 12 months to finalise your property settlement with your former spouse.

After 12 months, you won’t be able to make a property settlement in the court, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

If you need further information, our team of expert lawyers can help you through the process of applying for a divorce. Take advantage of our obligation-free consultation to learn about your options.


Fixed Fee Options Available
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Fixed Fee Divorce Applications

Cairns Divorce Lawyers can obtain your divorce order for you for a fixed fee.  This may be of interest to you if:

  • You want a divorce order.
  • You don’t want the hassle or stress of preparing the divorce application and any supporting material yourself.
  • You don’t want to pay expensive legal fees.
  • You want to ensure that your application is prepared, lodged and served properly so that there is no delay in obtaining your divorce order.
  • You don’t want to deal with your ex-partner directly.

If you have any questions relating to a family law issue or court proceedings, contact us. Learn about your options and obtain a fixed fee quote through an obligation free, initial consultation with one of our divorce lawyers in Cairns. 

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