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A “divorce” is when a court officially ends a marriage. Only legally married couples can divorce. Divorce is the official legal ending of a marriage.

Getting a divorce order means that your marriage has formally ended and you can remarry.

You do not have to prove “fault” in a divorce application. Australia a no-fault divorce. The only ground for a divorce is marriage breakdown. The can show your marriage has broken down if any you have been living apart for one year or more.

Divorce can be a difficult time, and there are services to help you with the emotional impact of divorce.

Requirements for a divorce application

You must have been separated from your spouse for at least one year before you can apply for a divorce.

separation is when a couple decides to live apart from each other because the relationship has broken down. Some couples choose to separate but still live in the same house.

As well as separation, there are a few other requirements:

  • Residency - You can apply for a divorce in Australia if either you or your spouse meet certain residency requirements.

  • Arrangements for children - If you have children who are under 16 years old (or, in special circumstances, 16 years or older) you will need to satisfy the court that you have made arrangements for their day-to-day care, maintenance, and other aspects of their welfare, or, that there is a good reason why no arrangements have been made. Note that the granting of a Divorce does not make these arrangements into a Court Order or determine what the parenting arrangements will be in the future. If you want an Order about the care arrangements for your children, you will need to make a separate application to the court.

  • If applying within two years of marriage, you cannot file an application for divorce less than two years from the date of your marriage, unless you also file a counselling certificate or ask the court for permission.

If I would like to try to work things out with my husband/wife, what can I do?

A range of services are available to try to work out whether you and your former spouse might be able to reconcile. Family counselling services and family dispute resolution providers might be able to help you. For more information about what services are available:

  • Call the Legal Aid WA Infoline on 1300 650 579.
  • Call the Family Relationship Advice Line on 1800 050 321.
  • Go to the Family Relationships website where you can search online for services.

Divorce, property and parenting issues

A divorce does not sort out issues relating to property or children, and you will need to make arrangements separately.

As discussed above, you need to satisfy the court that there are proper arrangements in place for any children under 18, but agreeing to a divorce does not mean that you necessarily agree with the current arrangements for your children as a continuing arrangement.

Parenting and Property & Finance on this website. There is information on coming to an arrangement with your partner, and for applying to the Court for formal orders.

If you want to apply for maintenance for yourself or a division of property, you must file a separate application within 12 months of the date the divorce becomes final. Otherwise, you will need the Court’s permission to apply.

What will a divorce cost?

There is a filing fee for divorce applications, and the current fees are available on the fees page.

If you hold certain government concession cards or you are experiencing financial hardship, you may be eligible for a reduced fee.

Applying for divorce

If you think you meet the divorce requirements and there is no chance of reconciling with your spouse, there is information on how to make a divorce application.

Last updated: 14-Sep-2017

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