Family Court of Western Australia

Married less than two years

If you have been married for less than two years, there is an extra requirement before you can apply for a divorce. You have to attend marriage counselling to consider reconciling with your spouse.

The two years is calculated from the date of the marriage to the date of applying to the Court for a divorce. You and your spouse must also meet the standard requirement to have been separated for at least 12 months before applying.

You prove your attendance at reconciliation counselling by filing a certificate signed by the counsellor when you file your divorce application. Both parties must have attended the reconciliation counselling.

This page provides information on meeting this requirement, and also how to apply for an exemption.

Meeting the reconciliation counselling requirement

Before applying for divorce, you need to:

  • Make an appointment with a Counsellor

    See the list below of services who provide reconciliation counselling.
  • Invite your spouse to the counselling appointment

    Give your spouse advance notice of the time and place of the appointment. If they are unable to attend, a separate appointment can be made. The appointments can be at separate venues, or by telephone when necessary if, for example, your former partner lives in the country, interstate or overseas.
  • Attend the counselling session

    At the session, the counsellor will discuss reconciliation. At the end of the counselling session, the counsellor will complete a certificate as evidence both parties attended counselling and considered reconciliation. You should take a blank certificate to the session.

If the reconciliation attempt was not successful, and both parties attended, file the certificate with your divorce application.

Applying without counselling

If counselling has not taken place with both parties, the court cannot deal with your divorce application unless satisfied there are special circumstances. You will need to file an affidavit explaining to the court why you and the other party did not attend, or do not need to attend, reconciliation counselling.

You will need to serve the documents you file in support of the divorce application on the other party.

You are required to attend the divorce hearing if you do not file a Counselling Certificate confirming both parties attended reconciliation counselling.

When you file your divorce application

To explain why you have not met the counselling requirement, you should file with your divorce application an affidavit seeking leave to file your application, and setting out the facts you rely on to satisfy the court of the special circumstances in your case.

After you have filed your divorce application

If you have already filed your divorce application without attending counselling, and you did not file an affidavit with the application, you need to file:

  • an Application in a Case (Form 2) seeking leave to have filed your application; and
  • an affidavit explaining the special circumstances.

There is no filing fee for an Application in a Case (Form 2).

If the Court is satisfied that special circumstances exist in your case, the divorce hearing will proceed at that time. If the Court is not satisfied that your application should proceed without counselling, you are not entitled to a refund of your divorce application filing fee.

Counselling services


456 Hay Street, Perth - Telephone 08 9325 6644

For other Centrecare locations see Centrecare website contact page


Relationships Australia (WA) Inc

22 Southport Street, West Leederville - Telephone: 08 6164 0400

For other Relationships Australia (WA) locations see Relationships Australia WA locations page



23 Adelaide Terrace, East Perth - Telephone: 1300 11 4466

For other Anglicare locations see Anglicare locations web page


Last updated: 24-Nov-2020

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