How to Get a Divorce in Melbourne: 5 Important Steps

how to get a divorce in melbourne | Dandenong Family Lawyers

How to Get a Divorce in Melbourne

The process of getting a divorce in Melbourne involves several steps and begins with ensuring you meet the eligibility criteria.

This guide aims to navigate you through the legal landscape of how to get a divorce in Melbourne. It details the eligibility criteria, necessary documentation and important considerations to help you undertake this significant life change with clarity and confidence.

1.      Understanding Eligibility Criteria

Before filing for a divorce in Melbourne, it’s crucial to confirm your eligibility.

The essential criteria include that at least one spouse must believe the marriage has irreparably broken down, and the couple must have been separated for a minimum of 12 months and 1 day.

Additionally, at least one party to the marriage must satisfy one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Be an Australian citizen by birth, descent, or by a grant of Australian citizenship;
  2. Regard Australia as their home and intend to live in Australia indefinitely,
  3. Are lawfully present in Australia for a minimum of 12 months immediately prior to filing the divorce application and intend to continue living in Australia.

🔑 Key Takeaway: Verify you fulfill the eligibility criteria, such as the 12-month separation period and jurisdictional requirements, before submitting your divorce application.

2.      Filing Your Divorce Application

The filing process for divorce in Melbourne can be initiated online through the Commonwealth Courts Portal. To start, you must create an account on the portal, which allows you to electronically submit and manage court documents.

For a successful application, ensure you fill out every necessary part of the divorce form and attach all required supporting documents.

Key documents include:

  1. A copy of your marriage certificate: If your marriage certificate is in a language other than English, it must be translated by a certified translator. You should include both the original certificate and its translation with an Affidavit of Translation of Marriage Certificate, completed by the translator. NAATI offers a list of certified translators and interpreters in Australia. In cases where obtaining a marriage certificate is not possible, you must submit an Affidavit detailing the marriage specifics and explaining why the certificate cannot be provided.
  2. Proof of Australian citizenship, permanent residence or ordinary residence: This can include a copy of your Australian citizenship certificate, Australian passport or visa documentation evidencing that you have resided in Australia for 12 months or longer.
  3. Court Orders: If there are court proceedings on foot or current court orders in place, you may need to provide a copy of these orders with your application.

Additional points to consider:

  1. If you have been separated for at least 12 months and 1 day but have resided together in the same household with your spouse in the 12 month period immediately prior to filing the divorce application, you must additionally file documentation showing you have been separated but living under one roof.
  2. If there are any children under 18 years of age who were treated as a member of the family prior to separation (which can include biological children, adopted children and step-children), the court needs to be satisfied that adequate arrangements have been made for their care.

🔑 Key Takeaway: Utilise the online system to file your divorce application, making sure to thoroughly prepare and submit all the necessary documents accurately.

3.      Serving the Divorce Application

Once your application is filed, you must serve it on your spouse, which means officially delivering the documents to them in accordance with the court’s requirements.

This step is crucial as it informs your spouse of the divorce application and provides them the opportunity to respond. There are specific rules about how and when the documents can be served, and in some cases, you may need to seek professional assistance to ensure compliance.

🔑 Key Takeaway: Properly serving the divorce application on your spouse is a critical step, so follow the court’s guidelines carefully.

4.      Attending the Hearing

For individuals filing a sole application for divorce where there are children under 18 years of age, attending the court hearing is mandatory. During the hearing, the court will review your application and the arrangements made for the children.

If everything is in order, the court may grant the divorce. However, the divorce will not become final until one month and one day after the hearing when the divorce order is issued.

🔑 Key Takeaway: Be prepared to attend the court hearing if you have children under 18 years of age, ensuring all arrangements for their care meet the court’s approval.

5.      Finalising Your Divorce

After the court grants your divorce at the divorce hearing, you must wait one month and one day for a copy of the divorce order to be released on the court’s portal.

Once you receive your divorce order, you are legally divorced and can remarry if you wish.

It is advisable to keep a copy of the divorce order for your records, as you may need it for legal purposes in the future.

🔑 Key Takeaway: Wait for the divorce order to become final before considering yourself legally divorced, and keep a copy for your records.

Remember to Seek Legal Advice

Obtaining a divorce in Melbourne requires satisfying eligibility criteria, preparing and filing the necessary documentation and carefully adhering to the court’s procedures.

Remember, seeking legal advice can provide personalised guidance on the legal process, ensuring you are fully informed and supported throughout your divorce proceedings.



Scroll to Top