Family Divorce Lawyers Melbourne

We are always receiving enquiries about divorce – the process, the timelines, how much it costs, what will happen with property and with children. Divorce and other family law matters, including arrangements about parenting and negotiating a property settlement, are interrelated matters on the one hand, but still separate matters in the eyes of the law. Divorce Lawyers in Melbourne are equipped to handle these complex and sensitive issues, ensuring legal guidance is tailored to your unique situation.

Divorce – Definition

Divorce is the process by which married couples ‘end’ their marriage. Note this process is (of course) equally applicable to same-sex marriages.

Getting a divorce, therefore, does not mean your parenting arrangements are sorted, nor is your property settlement finalised. By becoming divorced, what you have achieved is quite confined – you have ended your marriage and are free, if you so choose, to marry again. In Australia, the rules around marriage and divorce are made by the Federal government, pursuant to the Constitution – section 51 (xxi) for marriage and section 51 (xxii) for divorce and matrimonial causes and parental rights, custody and guardianship of children. Section 51 of the Constitution is accessible.


Separation Lawyers Melbourne

How To Get A Divorce In Australia– the Basics To be eligible for divorce in Australia, the applicant or the respondent must:

  • Be born in Australia or be a citizen by descent
  • Be a citizen
  • Be lawfully present in Australia and living in Australia for at least the last 12 months, intending to continue to live here (passport proof of arrival required and current visa)

In terms of the relationship:

    • The parties must have been separated for at least 1 year and 1 day (sometimes you can be ‘separated’ while still living in the same home – this can sometimes be a complicated question to determine)
    • The marriage must have broken down with no prospect of reconciliation or getting back together
    • The original marriage certificate, even if married overseas (formal translation required if in another language), must be provided.

Potential issues:

      • The parties have been married less than 2 years
      • Separation time has not been long enough to apply for divorce
      • One of the parties’ locations is not known (problems with service)
      • The parties were married overseas and the location of the formal marriage certificate is unknown

If any of the above issues may apply to you, please do not hesitate to contact our Separation Lawyers in Melbourne for further advice.

What is the Divorce Process In Australia?

The process around divorce can be cumbersome and confusing.

You must make an application to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia if you wish to end your marriage and divorce. Upon a successful application being filed, the Court will allocate a date for the divorce hearing before a Registrar of the Court.

The party who is applying for the divorce is known as the applicant

The other spouse party is known as the respondent.

The current fee for filing a application for divorce in Australia is $930.00 (full fee). Applicants who are concession card holders (for example, a Health Care Card) or can demonstrate financial hardship (e.g. little bank savings, no significant assets, low paying employment, etc.), maybe entitled to a reduced application fee of $310.00.

Joint applications may be made to the Court where the parties have agreed to jointly complete the application. Joint applications can be much quicker to finalise, as well as cost-saving. This is because an applicant who files for divorce with the Court must prove to the Court that the other party to the marriage has been served with a copy of the application. Separation Lawyers in Melbourne can assist with ensuring all legal requirements are met efficiently.

Process Servers

he usual process for service is to employ a process server, who is an independent professional person who, for a fee (usually $100 – $150) personally meets the respondent and ‘serves’ (gives) the documents to them. As part of this work, the process server completes an ‘affidavit of service’ which is another court document that is filed with the court and which acts as proof to the court, that the other party knows about the application being filed, and has all the relevant information about the application.

Service by Post

Alternatively, divorce applications can be served by post. However, for the court to accept this type of service, the respondent must return to the applicant the acknowledgement of service document, which is a sworn document (sworn documents, or affidavits, are solemnly sworn or affirmed documents for which a person must promise to tell the truth – any failure to tell the truth on such a sworn document may be punishable as perjury with penalties including imprisonment).

After receiving the acknowledgement of service document, the applicant must file an affidavit of service, stating that they recognize the signature on the acknowledgement document. Separation Lawyers in Melbourne can assist in preparing and filing this essential document.

Service by post can be problematic if the relationship between the parties is strained, and if it is not known whether the respondent will be prepared to complete the acknowledgement document and return it. Delays are often experienced in this way.

Importantly, applicants have limited time in which to serve the divorce application after it is filed. The Respondent must be served at least 28 days before the scheduled divorce hearing.

Joint Applications – benefits

With joint applications, there is no separate and additional requirement for an applicant to file an affidavit of service evidencing that the divorce application has been ‘served’ as there is no ‘other party’ where both parties are the applicants.

The Divorce Application Document

An application for divorce in Australia requires full details for each party including personal information (name, age, contact details, employment, citizenship), details about the relationship (including the first date the parties cohabitated, the date of marriage, and the date of separation) and information regarding any periods of reconciliation that may have occurred during periods of separation.

Parties must list details for any children under the age of 18.

Other court cases (parenting applications, property settlement applications, intervention orders, parenting plans, child welfare issues, and child support matters) must also be declared.

The Application Process

In order to file an application for divorce, you will need to be separated from your partner for at least 12 months.

If you have been married for less than 2 years, there are additional requirements to attend counselling before filing a divorce application, or alternatively leave (permission) must be given by the court to make the application without counselling. Divorce Lawyers in Melbourne can provide guidance on how to navigate these requirements.

Court Fees

There are fees for filing a divorce application which may be reduced if you have a health care card.

Filing Documents

A Divorce application is made electronically through the Commonwealth Courts ‘Portal’.

Prompt Legal Services are very experienced in divorce applications and regularly assist clients in this process, ensuring accurate and efficient applications and a minimum of fuss.

Please do not hesitate to contact Prompt Legal Services for a quote, on  (03) 9379 0877, or email


What does it mean to get a Divorce?

Divorce is the process that ends the formal marriage between two people. Receiving a divorce order allows for a party to re-marry.

People sometimes say they need assistance with “their divorce”, when they primarily want assistance in relation to separating their assets. It is important to know that getting a divorce will not achieve a property settlement or automatically result in an arrangement for any children of the marriage.

Do I need agreement from my spouse, to divorce?

No, a single party may file for divorce. Sometimes, you may need to utilise the services of a process-server, where the other party does not return required documentation.

Divorce applications are frequently made by one applicant only. They are also able to be applied for jointly. For joint applications, the parties will avoid potential process server fees.

Are you ‘separated’?

‘Separated’ can mean still living under the ‘one roof’, however certain requirements must be met in this instance, including additional affidavit evidence from third parties known to you who can confirm that you are separated.

We are experienced family divorce lawyers in Melbourne and can take you through the process quickly and efficiently in finalising divorce applications.

To begin your divorce application, we will require your original marriage certificate, as well as 100 points of identification. If you do not have your marriage certificate, this may be obtained through Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Do I have to go to court?

If you are the applicant, and there are children of the marriage, you will need to go to court. If you prefer, we can attend court on your behalf.

How long will it take?

Most divorce applications receive hearing dates of 1-2 months from date of filing.

Following the hearing of your divorce application, provided the requirements for the divorce have been met, you will be issued with a divorce order after one month and one day. Separation Lawyers in Melbourne can assist with any further legal needs or questions you may have during this period.

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We are pleased to announce that as of 1 July 2024, Prompt Legal Services and Gladstone Park Conveyancing have merged with Oakley Thompson & Co. This strategic move marks a new chapter in our endeavour to provide exceptional legal services for our clients.