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How to apply for a divorce

This section explains the basic steps involved in applying, filing and serving a divorce application.

All divorce applications must be lodged with the Federal Circuit and Family Court. Either party may apply for divorce, or the parties can make a joint application.

The application form is available online from the Family Court website. It may be typed or handwritten and can also be lodged in person or by mail.

The applicant needs to include:

  • their application and two photocopies
  • fee (or fee reduction application)
  • photocopy of marriage certificate.

The registry will make a date for the court hearing and will return two stamped copies of the completed form to the applicant.


Filing fees

A fee of $940 (current as at 23 September 2021) must be paid by applicant when lodging divorce application in the Federal Circuit and Family Court.

An applicant who is suffering financial hardship may ask for a reduction in fees. The reduced fee is $ 310 (as at 23 September 2021).


Online access to information about a current family law matter

Applications for divorce are now usually created electronically online. This is the way that the court prefers to receive applications. Clients and their lawyers are able to access information about their family law matters through the Commonwealth Courts Portal. After registering, users may access:

  • documents that have been filed
  • court orders that have been made
  • the contact details of the legal representative for other parties in the case.

See Commonwealth Courts Portal.

The court site has a YouTube video that explains how to file electronically see Services and info for clients.

Applications for people who have no computer access

If a person does not have access to a computer, they can access a divorce application in a PDF format.

See Federal Circuit and Family Court—Application for divorce (online application)(opens in a new window)

More information


Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Family Law) Rules 2021 (Cth)

  • Part 2.5—filing documents
  • Part 2.6.4—service of application for divorce order

See Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Family Law) Rules 2021(Cth).(opens in a new window)

Family Law (Fees) Regulation 2012 (Cth)

  • Div 2.3—exemptions form liability to pay fee
  • Schedule 1—fees

See Family Law (Fees) Regulation 2012 (Cth)(opens in a new window).

Federal Circuit and Family Court

This site has information to help people who are applying for divorce. See particularly: