Cairns Divorce Lawyers | Family Lawyers

How to apply for a divorce

If you have been separated from your spouse for at least 12 months, and the marriage has “irretrievably broken down” (which means that there is no possibility that you will get back together), you can make an Application for Divorce.

You can make a joint application with your spouse, or you can file a sole application by yourself.

In most cases, the divorce procedure is straightforward.

Divorce steps

  • Complete the Application for Divorce, available online (via the Family Court of Australia page)
  • Sign the application – if you are a filing a joint application, your spouse will need to sign the application as well. You need to sign the application in the presence of a qualified witness, such as a lawyer.
  • File the application with the Court – you need to also file a copy of your Marriage Certificate, and pay the Court filing fee.
  • Serve the application – if you have filed a sole application, you need to properly serve the application on your spouse.
  • Attend the hearing – if you have filed a sole Application for Divorce and/or you or your spouse have children under the age of 18, you will need to attend a Divorce Hearing.
  • Divorce Order – the order will be sent to you by the court 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. 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.

Take advantage of our obligation-free consultation to learn about your options. 

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