Family Court of Western Australia

Service by Post or Electronic Communication

Service by post or electronic communication involves sending the documents to your spouse, who signs and returns an Acknowledgment of Service.

You should only attempt this method of service if you are confident your spouse will sign and return the Acknowledgement of Service (Form 6) to you. Without this, the Court cannot be sure your spouse has received the documents. If you attempt service by post and do not receive the signed Acknowledgment of Service, you will need to arrange service by hand.

To prove service of your divorce application by post or electronic communication, you need to:

  • prepare the documents
  • send the documents
  • complete and sign before an authorised witness an Affidavit of Service with the Acknowledgement of Service attached
  • file the service documents

Step 1: Prepare the documents

The documents you will need to post to your spouse at their last known address are:

  • Acknowledgement of Service which can be found below and in the Service of Documents kit.
  • Application for Divorce. If you made your application online, you will also have an Affidavit of eFiling. Otherwise, you will have a copy stamped by the court. This lets your partner know the application has been properly filed with the court.
  • Marriage, families and separation brochure.
  • Any other documents filed with your Divorce Application, such as an affidavit. You don’t need to serve your marriage certificate, or any documents to do with residency (passport, visa or citizenship documents) or related to a fee reduction application.
  • A stamped self-addressed envelope so your spouse can return the original completed Acknowledgement of Service.

Step 2: Send the documents

You need to serve the documents by sending them to your spouse’s last known address.

You can send them by post, email or other appropriate form of electronic communication. It’s a good idea to confirm your spouse’s address if you are unsure. Attempting service again by another method will delay your proceedings, and you have to serve the documents with sufficient time before your hearing (see the time limits for serving divorce applications above).

Serving the respondent’s lawyer

If your spouse has a lawyer, you can ask them if they will accept service of the documents on behalf of your spouse. If they agree, the lawyer can sign the Acknowledgement of Service.

Getting the lawyer’s agreement is important. A lawyer may have given your spouse legal advice, but that doesn’t mean they will be representing your spouse throughout the divorce process. The documents will not be properly served if you send them to a lawyer who has not agreed to accept them, and/or does not sign the Acknowledgement of Service.

If you serve your spouse’s lawyer, you don’t need to complete an Affidavit of Service (which is normally Step 3 of the process).  You will need to file the signed Acknowledgement of Service however.

Remember to record the date you posted the documents to your spouse.

If your spouse doesn’t acknowledge service

You will need to organise service by hand. If you cannot organise this within the time limits above you will need to ask the court to adjourn the matter so you have time to serve the documents.

If you have trouble locating your spouse to serve the documents by hand, see the if you can’t locate your spouse page.

Step 3: Complete and Sign before an Authorised Witness an Affidavit of Service

Once you have received the signed Acknowledgment of Service, you can complete the Affidavit of Service. The affidavit includes giving evidence that you recognise your spouse’s signature.

After completing the affidavit (apart from the signing section), attach the Acknowledgment to the Affidavit and visit an authorised witness (usually a lawyer or Justice of the Peace).

After signing the affidavit in front of the witness, the service documents are ready to file.

Step 4: File the Service Documents

File the Acknowledgement of Service and Affidavit of Service by posting them to the Court (ensure you retain a copy) or by filing them electronically through the Commonwealth Courts Portal.

If you did not receive a signed Acknowledgement of Service, you will need to arrange service by service by hand. If you can't locate your spouse, you will need to apply to dispense with service.


Last updated: 29-Oct-2019

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