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There are various ways to get a divorce, but not all of them need to be difficult. If you and your spouse can agree on the terms of the divorce, for example, you may be able to complete the process online.
Here's what you need to know to get started: including the typical requirements, costs and how to complete the divorce.
What's in this guide?
- Can I really get an online divorce?
- Is an online divorce application right for me?
- What types of online divorce applications are there?
- How much does an online divorce cost?
- 5 steps to filling out an online divorce application
- How long does an online divorce take?
- What if we don't agree on the divorce terms?
- Will I need a lawyer?
- Get access to online lawyers and legal documents for divorce
- Compare online divorce services
- Bottom line
- Frequently asked questions
Can I really get an online divorce?
In some cases, yes. If you and your spouse agree on the terms of your divorce — meaning you agree to an uncontested divorce — you should not have to appear in court.
It is possible to complete your divorce by drafting an agreement, filling out the appropriate forms electronically and then emailing those forms to the court.
Please note that divorce involving same-sex couples in Australia cannot be completed online currently. Same-sex couples can get in touch with the National Enquiry Centre via email to find out more information.
Is an online divorce application right for me?
Before you make an online divorce application, you'll need to:
- Know where your spouse is.
- Both agree to a divorce.
- Agree with your spouse on the division of assets and property.
- Agree with your spouse on alimony and child-related matters, including child support and a co-parenting schedule.
So, online divorces won't be suited to couples who aren't willing to work together on divorce terms or who can't agree on key issues.
What types of online divorce applications are there?
There are two types of online divorce application: a joint application and a sole application.
Joint application vs sole application
The first part of the application form will ask you to specify whether you're filling in the application by yourself or with your spouse, i.e. whether this is a sole application or a joint application.
- A joint application is the easiest option when it comes to online divorce applications. Twelve months after your separation, both you and your spouse will need to complete the form together. Once you've filed your application, it can take up to two months for the courts to grant your divorce.
- A sole application is a little more complicated and can be used in situations where your spouse is either not willing to, or is unable to, fill in a joint application. The process is a lot longer with a sole application as you will need to serve the application to your spouse. If you and your spouse have a child under the age of 18, you will also both need to attend court.
How much does an online divorce cost?
It costs $930 for an application for divorce fee in Australia. Everyone who files for divorce must pay this charge regardless of whether you're submitting the application yourself or if you're using a lawyer. This figure covers the court filing fee only; a range of other charges can apply.
There are some circumstances under which you can apply for a reduced application fee of $310. For example, if you can't pay the full fee due to financial hardship.
Be aware it's not unusual for online divorce fees to fluctuate, so make sure to check familycourt.gov.au for the latest figures.
5 steps to filling out an online divorce application
You'll need to have a printer, scanner and your Visa/MasterCard at hand to fill in your divorce application online. Once you've found those things, here's a step-by-step guide to filling out the divorce application online:
1. Register for the Commonwealth Courts Portal
Head to the Commonwealth Courts Portal and set up an account, if you're not already registered. You can see exactly how to register using this handy video clip and find other useful advice on the Federal Circuit Court of Australia website.
2. Start your divorce application
Head to the home page of the portal and select the 'start a new file' option. From here, you'll be taken to a new page where you need to specify the type of document you want to file and the court that you wish to file in.
For an online divorce application, you'll normally need to select the 'Application for divorce' and 'Federal Circuit Court of Australia' options.
3. Complete the application
The divorce application is separated into several distinct sections:
- The applicants. In this first section, you'll need to let the system know who is filling out the application, whether its a joint or sole application, and if any of the parties have a preference with court hearings.
- Husband and wife. The second section is where you'll need to fill in all of the personal details of the husband and wife involved in the divorce.
- Jurisdiction. This section includes a series of yes and no questions to double-check that you're both eligible for divorce in Australia.
- Marriage and separation. Here, you'll need to provide details of your marriage and separation. For example, when you got married and when you separated.
- Other court cases. This is your chance to let the courts know if there are any other cases currently taking place.
- Children. This section is only relevant if you have children under the age of 18. You'll need to provide evidence that you have adequate care arrangements in place for your child/children.
4. Upload any supporting documents
Depending on your situation, you'll need to provide a number of different documents to support your divorce application. Specific documents will be listed on your application's home page and may include:
- Marriage certificate
- Parenting plans
- Court orders
- Proof of separation
5. Submit your application
Once you've finished uploading your documents, it's time to double-check that all of the details are correct. Both yourself and your spouse should confirm that you've filled out the form correctly.
Finally, it's time to print out the application form for both parties to sign in the presence of a Justice of the Peace or a lawyer. Once complete, simply scan and upload these final documents into the portal, pay your fee and submit your application.
How long does an online divorce take?
A divorce filed online can take as little as four months, but it may take a lot longer than this. One factor that affects the time is whether it is contested or uncontested. A contested divorce may take 12 months or longer. The will of the parties to speed things up or delay them is another influencing factor.
What if we don't agree on the divorce terms?
Online divorce services are best for couples who can agree on the terms of the divorce, including division of assets, alimony and parental responsibilities if you have children.
If you and your spouse do not agree on the full terms of your divorce — for instance, you can't agree on property or custody — your divorce is considered contested and may need to be settled in court. However, even if you and your spouse disagree on some issues, you might be able to avoid going to trial through mediation or other alternative paths.
Will I need a lawyer?
You do not need a lawyer for an uncontested divorce. As long as you and your spouse have reached an agreement on all matters related to your divorce, it's considered a more straightforward dissolution of marriage. However, if you need legal advice, consider some of the top online legal services to help guide you.
Also, keep in mind that a lot of applications are rejected for including incorrect information or errors so it's worth taking your time to fill out the application and get it right the first time.
Get access to online lawyers and legal documents for divorce
Compare online divorce services
Online divorce services can provide a quick and easy alternative for married couples filing for an uncontested divorce. They will handle all of the paperwork, including the online divorce application, typically for a one-time fee.
Does your company belong in this list?
- OnlineDivorce.com.au. Let the legal professionals do the hard work for you and file your divorce application for a fixed fee.
- OnlineDivorceApplications.com.au. For a one-off fee, this platform will take care of your online divorce application.
An online divorce service guides you from the beginning to the end of the process. It'll present you with the divorce forms and give instructions on how to complete and file the documents with the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.
By the time you or your spouse have come to the difficult decision to divorce, the last thing you want to think about is navigating a potentially complicated and expensive process.
Frequently asked questions
What happens after I submit my divorce application online?
Once you've submitted your divorce application online, you'll need to wait for the courts to review your application. In some cases, you may be asked to provide further documents to support your application.
In the case of a sole application, you'll need to serve the document to your spouse first. Depending on your circumstances, you may then be required to attend a hearing. This is usually only the case if your spouse has rejected the terms of the divorce or if there are children under the age of 18 involved.
What happens if my spouse lives abroad?
You can still apply for a divorce if either you or your spouse:
- Regard Australia as your home and that you intend to live here indefinitely
- Are an Australian citizen by birth, descent or by the grant of Australian citizenship
- Ordinarily live in Australia and have done so for 12 months prior to filing for divorce.
You and your spouse will need to have lived separately and apart for at least 12 months. You'll also need to satisfy the court that there's no reasonable likelihood of you resuming married life.
How can I pay for my online divorce?
If you need help to meet the cost of your online divorce application, you might want to consider taking out a personal loan or line of credit.Back to top
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