Family Court of Western Australia


A divorce is when a court officially ends a marriage.

Getting a divorce order means that your marriage has formally ended and you can remarry. A divorce does not sort out issues relating to property or children, and you will need to make these arrangements separately.

Australian law has the principle of no-fault divorce. This means that the Court does not consider why the marriage ended, and you just need to satisfy the Court that you and your spouse have been separated at least a year and there is no reasonable chance of resuming married life.

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

Requirements for a divorce application

The requirements for a divorce application are:

  • Separation - A separation is when a couple decides to end their marriage because the relationship has broken down. Some couples choose to separate but still live in the same house. You must have been separated from your spouse for at least one year before you can apply for a divorce.
  • Residency - You can apply for a divorce in Australia if either you or your spouse meet the residency requirements.
  • Arrangements for children - If you have children who are under 18 years old, 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 the parenting arrangements. If you want an order about the care arrangements for your children, you will need to make a separate parenting application.
  • If applying within two years of marriage, you cannot file an application for divorce unless you also file a counselling certificate or ask the court for permission.

Working things out with your partner

A range of services are available to help work out whether you can reconcile with your spouse. For more information about the Family Counselling services available:

  • Visit the Family Relationships Online website where you can search online for services.
  • Call the Family Relationship Advice Line on 1800 050 321.

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.

See the Parenting and Property & Finance pages for more information. There is information on coming to an arrangement with your spouse, and for applying to the Court for formal orders.

If you want to apply for property or financial orders, you need to apply within 12 months of the date of your divorce order. After 12 months, you will need the Court’s permission to apply.

Application Fee

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, you can find out how to make a divorce application.

Last updated: 12-Feb-2024

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