You can apply for a divorce in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia provided you have been separated from your spouse for at least 12 months and are ‘domiciled’ in Australia, that is where you intend to live in the future.
To be eligible to apply for a divorce in Australia, you or your spouse must fall into at least one of the following categories:
- You regard Australia as your home and intend to live indefinitely in Australia;
- You are an Australian citizen by birth or descent (i.e. you were born in Australia or you were born outside Australia and at least one parent was an Australian citizen, or your birth was registered in Australia);
- You are an Australian citizen by grant of an Australian citizenship; or
- You live in Australia and have done so for 12 months immediately before filing for divorce.
If you fall into any of the above categories, you are eligible to apply for a divorce in Australia.
It is also a requirement to serve the Application for Divorce on your spouse by either service by hand or by sending it by pre-paid post. If your spouse is likely to accept service and willingly sign the acknowledgment of service form, you can serve the Application for Divorce by pre-paid post with minimal expense. However, if your spouse is unlikely to accept service, you will need to arrange to have the Application for Divorce personally served upon them for which you would incur service fees.
You are able to prepare and file an Application for Divorce without the need for a lawyer and would only be required to pay the Court filing fee of $865 in those circumstances. However, many people choose to receive the assistance of a lawyer in more complicated scenarios, such as when they are unable to locate their spouse, when they are unsure if they are eligible to apply for divorce in Australia or when they simply don’t understand the process of what is required of them.
If you require assistance in figuring out if you are eligible to apply for divorce in Australia, please feel free to contact our office and seek further information.