Family Court of Western Australia

Applying for a divorce

A divorce  formally ends a marriage. You can apply for a divorce if you meet the divorce requirements. This page has information about the application process, and the before you apply section has information about divorce orders. 

 

Divorce applications are made online through the Commonwealth Courts Portal.  This page gives an outline of the process. You need to:

Note that the process is different if you make a joint application. Joint applications don't need to be served, and your application will be heard more quickly.

Prepare your documents

To make your application, you'll need access to a printer, scanner and a visa or mastercard. If you don't have a credit card, you can by a pre-paid debit card through Australia Post.

There are documents you need to file with your divorce application.

All applicants need to file a copy of their marriage certificate, and there may be other documents depending on your circumstances. The marriage certificate you provide is not required to be an original or certified.

You can provide:

  • the ceremonial certificate, if you were married in Australia, or 
  • a certificate provided by Births, Deaths and Marriages (or the local equivalent if you married outside Western Australia).

Circumstances requiring additional documents include when:

  • your marriage certificate is not in English
  • you were separated under one roof
  • you are relying on citizenship or visa residency requirements, or
  • you have been married for less than two years.

Theadditional divorce application requirements page has more information.

Complete the application on the Commonwealth Courts Portal

After preparing your documents, register for the Commonwealth Courts Portal. There's information on the Commonwealth Courts portal page about how to register.

After registering and signing in:

  • select 'Start a new file'. If you are in Western Australia, select the Family Court of Western Australia.
  • complete Parts A to F of the online interactive form. There is help provided as you move through the application. You can save each part as you proceed, and select 'print preview' to read the application.
  • upload your documents.
  • once you are satisfied your application is ready, select 'Lock and continue'.

Print and witness your application

The next step is to print a copy of your application and the Affidavit of eFiling, and swear it before an authorised witness, who is usually a Justice of the Peace or lawyer. The affidavit page has more information on having documents sworn.

If you are filing a joint application, both you and your spouse will need to swear the affidavit.

After your affidavit has been sworn, scan the sworn copy and upload it to the Commonwealth Courts Portal.

Finalise your application

Print the Marriage, Families and Separation brochure and select the check box.

Select a location where the application is to be heard. In WA this is the Family Court of Western Australia - Perth. If you filed a joint application you are not requried to attend court.

Pay the Application fee

You can pay the application fee using a Mastercard or Visa credit/debit card.

You may be eligible to pay a reduced fee if you meet certain criteria, or if you can show the fee would cause you financial hardship. See the fee reduction and exemption page for more information. 

Select a date and time for the divorce hearing

After successful payment you will be prompted to select a date and time for the divorce hearing.

Print the application

Print the document ready for service (sole application) or for your records (joint application).

Serve the application

If you are filing the application on your own (a sole application) then you need to serve your application on your spouse.

You will have to provide evidence to the Court that the application has been served and received by the other party. This is normally done by completing and filing an Affidavit of Service with the court. See the serving a divorce application page for more information.

If you are making a joint application with your spouse, you don't need to serve the application.

Next steps

The next steps depend on whether you are making a sole or joint application.

Sole application

After you have filed and served your application, your spouse may file a Response to Divorce if they disagree with the information provided in the application or if they oppose the divorce. There are very few valid reasons to oppose a divorce. The main reasons are that: 

  • you have not been separated for 12 months, or
  • the court does not have jurisdiction.

See responding to a divorce application for more information.

After your spouse has had an opportunity to respond, the Court will consider your application. See the divorce cases page under Using the Court for more information, including whether you will need to attend court.

Joint application

If you are making a joint application, the Court will begin considering your application after it has been filed. See the divorce cases page under Using the Court for more information, including whether you will need to attend court.

What happens if I can't eFile my application?

If you are unable to eFile, contact the Court by email or the Call Centre on 08 9224 8222 for information about what you can do.


Last updated: 20-Apr-2018

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