How Long Does a Divorce Take in Australia?


When it comes to divorce in Australia, understanding the multi-step process and the timeframe involved is important, so let’s take a look at how long a divorce takes in Australia.


The Divorce Timeline


Generally, it takes several months for a divorce to reach its conclusion in Australia.

This timeline begins when you first submit your divorce application to the Court and extends until a Divorce Order is made and comes into force.

However, complications can arise which can lead to longer processing times, such as being unable to serve your spouse with a copy of the divorce application.


Filing the Divorce Application & Remarrying


The estimate provided above does not account for the time needed to prepare and sign the divorce application.

It’s also important not to rush into remarrying until you’ve received your Divorce Order from the Court, as remarrying before the Court issues a Divorce Order is illegal in Australia.


Separation Period


Before applying for a divorce, you and your spouse must have been separated for at least 12 months and 1 day.

If you were separated but still lived under the same roof during part or all of this period, additional considerations apply.

The date of separation is typically the date that one party communicated to the other that they wished to end the relationship.

If a date of separation cannot be agreed upon, the Court will make a judgment based on relevant factors, such as when you stopped sharing a bedroom, having a sexual relationship, separating finances, notifying government agencies, or informing friends and family.


Do you have to wait two years to get a Divorce in Australia?


If your marriage lasted less than two years, you can still apply for divorce.

However, you’ll likely need to attend counselling and submit a counselling certificate along with your divorce application.

If attending counselling with your spouse is not possible due to reasons like not being able to locate your partner or concerns about domestic violence, you must explain your situation in an affidavit.


Filing for Divorce in Australia


Australia has followed a ‘no-fault’ approach to divorce since 1975, with the Court considering certain requirements before granting a Divorce Order:

  • You and your spouse have been separated for at least 12 months.
  • There’s an ‘irretrievable breakdown’ of the marriage, indicating that reconciliation is no longer possible.
  • Either you or your spouse is an Australian citizen or resident who regards Australia as a permanent home.

The reason for the breakdown of the relationship is not relevant to a divorce application – this is what is meant by ‘no fault’.

Learn more about divorce applications while living overseas here.


Sole or Joint Application


You can apply for divorce by yourself (sole application) or jointly with your spouse (joint application).

If you make a joint application or if there are no children under 18, you won’t need to attend a divorce hearing.

If you file a sole application and have children under 18, attending the hearing is mandatory.

The Court must be satisfied that proper arrangements have been made for the children or that special circumstances exist to grant the divorce without such arrangements.


Finalisation of Divorce


After filing your papers, divorces typically become final one month and one day after the Court grants the divorce.

This is when a sealed copy of the Divorce Order is issued (previously known as a Certificate of Divorce).


Delays in Divorce Proceedings


While most divorces proceed smoothly, several factors can lead to delays.

Issues may arise if you file a sole application and need to locate your spouse for document service or if procedural errors are discovered.

Court attendance may be required in the circumstances, and in some cases, more than one hearing will be required.

Delays can also occur if the Court has concerns about child protection arrangements.


Time Limits


There are no strict time limits for applying for divorce, and you don’t have to wait for your Divorce Order to finalise property settlements or arrangements for your children.

The property settlement process can be lengthy and complex, so we recommend that you begin negotiations immediately after separation.

Once the Divorce Order becomes final, you have 12 months to apply to the Court for property settlement or spousal maintenance if an agreement cannot be reached independently, or in which to formalise (legally register) your agreement.

If you miss the limitation date, seek legal advice promptly to explore the possibility of proceeding out of time.


Contact Us


While the timeframe for divorce in Australia typically spans several months, it can vary based on individual circumstances and any potential complications that may arise during the process.

For more information regarding how long a divorce takes in Australia, contact us at Bambrick Legal today. We offer a free, no-obligation 15-min consultation for all enquiries.

Read more about our Family Law services here.

Related Blog – How to Protect Assets from a Divorce?

Get Started Online


Get Started Online

Send us a message

For enquiries, please fill in the following contact form