How do I...
How do I . . .
The most popular client questions received by our enquiry centre
1. How do I get a copy of my divorce order?
You need to fill out a Proof of Divorce Form (Forms/Family Law Courts forms/Proof of Divorce). Before you submit the form, you must call the National Enquiry Centre on 1300 352 000 to obtain as much information as possible. This is particularly important if you are not a party to the divorce.
2. How do I know if my divorce has gone through?
If your divorce application is successful, the Court will grant a divorce order which comes into effect one month and one day after the order is made. If you do not have to attend the hearing and wish to know the outcome before the divorce becomes final, you can contact the NEC on 1300 352 000. However you should allow at least 48 hours after the hearing before contacting them. A copy of the divorce order will be posted to you after the order comes into effect. You can also have a look at your divorce order on the Commonwealth Courts Portal if you are a registered user.
3. How do I find out when my next court date is?
You need to call the National Enquiry Centre on 1300 352 000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also register on the Commonwealth Courts Portal to view your court date online.
4. How do I find out how much it costs to apply for a divorce?
The Fees brochure contains information on how much it costs to apply for a divorce. You must pay the fee when you file your application with the Court. Payment can be made by cheque or money order made out to ‘The Collector of Public Monies’; by credit card (Visa or Mastercard) by filling out a Credit Card Payment Form; or by cash (only available when paying in person at a registry). You may be entitled to a reduced fee, for example, if you hold certain government concession cards or you can demonstrate financial hardship.
5. How do I apply for some orders regarding my children?
See the Children's Matters section on this website.
6. How do I serve the divorce application on the other party?
Service is the process of sending or giving court documents to a party after they have been filed, in accordance with the rules of a court. Service ensures all parties have received the documents filed with a court. If you have made a sole application for divorce, you must arrange to serve the following documents on your spouse: a sealed copy of the Application for Divorce, a copy of the Marriage, Families and Separation brochure, and any other documents filed with the Court. If you have made a joint application for divorce, you do not need to serve the documents. For more information see Separation and Divorce/Service of documents
7. How do I serve documents if I can’t find the respondent?
If you file a sole application for divorce you are required to serve court documents on your spouse. Service ensures that all parties have received the documents filed with the Court.
You have two options when you cannot serve your divorce application on your spouse. You may need to ask the Court to make an order for either substituted service or dispensation of service.
• Substituted service allows you to serve the court documents on a third person who the Court is satisfied will bring the court documents to the attention of your spouse.
• Dispensation of service allows you to not serve the court documents because the Court is satisfied that you have made all reasonable attempts to find your spouse.
To ask for these orders, you are required to file an Application in a Case asking for the order with an affidavit providing evidence of why the Court should make the order you have asked for. There is no fee for filing an Application in a Case. You will need to attend court on the allocated day to provide any further evidence required.
8. How do I find out who is authorised to witness the signatures on my application for divorce?
The divorce application must be witnessed by a lawyer, Justice of the Peace or an ‘other’ authorised person. ‘Other’ authorised person depends on which state you have your divorce application witnessed in because of various state oaths and affirmations acts. You should check state legislation to find out what is appropriate.
If you are overseas the following persons can witness your signature:
• Notary Public
• Australian Diplomatic Officer or Australian Consular Officer delegated as defined by s2 of the Consular Fees Act.
• Employee of the Australian Trade Commission who is authorised under paragraph 3(d) of the Consular Fees Act.
9. How do I know if I have to attend the divorce hearing?
You do not need to attend the divorce hearing if one of the following circumstances apply:
• there is no child of the marriage currently under the age of 18 or
• you have made a joint application for divorce.
You do need to attend the divorce hearing if you have made a sole application and there is a child under the age of 18. You should also attend if there are any special circumstances which may require you giving further evidence.