How to File a Divorce Application

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  • All Divorce Applications are now to be filed in the Federal Magistrates Court. The Family Court of Australia no longer has this jurisdiction.
  • To file a divorce application you must be able to show the court that the parties have already been separated for at least 12 months.
  • The divorce application is in included in the Divorce kit available from the Family and The Federal magistrates Court and many Local Courts.
  • Either the husband or wife can file the application or you may use a joint application.
  • In the case of a sole application the applicant completes the application for divorce which needs to be signed or affirmed in the presence of a Justice of the Peace or a solicitor. The applicant must then also complete a proof of service form.
  • The applicant then must take 2 photocopies and the original completed application to the Federal Magistrates Court for filing including being stamped with a court seal. The applicant then takes the 2 stamped photocopies and has one copy served on the respondent (the spouse) and keeps the other copy for their own records. At the time of filing the clerk of the court will issue a court date and time.
  • The applicant must pay a filing fee of $432.00 as of July 2008. This fee can be waived if the applicant can prove financial hardship.
  • The applicant must then serve a sealed copy of the divorce application on the respondent spouse. There must be 28 days clearance between the court date and the date of service.
  • Most divorce applications are served by a licensed process server personally on the respondent wife or husband. At the time of service the respondent has the option of completing the ‘Acknowledgement of Service’. If this is completed then it will need to be included with the process servers ‘Affidavit of Service’. Citiserv will generally charge a one off $88.00 fee for unlimited attempts at a given address to serve the divorce application. This is a formal record presented to the court describing on whom the document was served, where, when and how. It also has a word for word record of the conversation that took place at the time of service.
  • Lastly, once the applicant receives the affidavit of service from the process server then h or she then delivers it to the clerk of the court to file.
  • When the courts decide the requirements for the divorce have been met then it shall grant a divorce order that will be effective one month after it is issued.