How To File Divorce In NSW? 

There are many reasons why marriages break down and countless families breakdown in Australia. Sometimes separation is amicable, and sadly sometimes, it is not. Regardless, divorce almost always brings difficult times, be stressful and particularly hard on children. So, when filing for divorce in NSW, why not rely on professionals who can smooth the process for you and the family?


Legal Process And Procedures

The legal processes involved in filing for divorce vary depending on where you live in Australia. In some states, you must go through a court system, while others allow you to file online. Either way, your application for divorce will be applied to the Federal Circuit Court of the Family Court of Australia or the Family Court of Western Australia, depending on where you are residing.

The following steps will provide an overview of the divorce process and give you an understanding on whether you have grounds for divorce.


Procedural Steps For Applying For Divorce:

1. Firstly, you must meet the eligibility requirements for applying for a divorce in Australia. You must meet at least one of the following eligibility criteria:

a. You are an Australian citizen, either a citizen by birth or you are a citizen by grant of Australian citizenship. If you are an Australia citizen by descent, you will have to submit your Australian citizenship certificate; or

b. You must provide evidence that you are lawfully living in Australia and have been for at least the past 12 months.

2. You must have been separated for at least 12 months and 1 day.

3. There must be no reasonable likelihood that you will get back together with your ex-partner.

4. You must have a marriage certificate.

After you have satisfied the listed requirements, it is recommended that you seek legal advice. You must know whether you will be completing a sole application or a joint application for divorce. A divorce lawyer can provide you with advice on the important things you will need to consider in completing a divorce application. Some of these considerations include:

  • Arrangements for children.
  • Eligibility requirements for overseas marriage.
  • If you or your spouse is living overseas.

Divorce cost is also a consideration for people thinking about filing for a divorce. There is a filing fee involved in applying for divorce. This application fee is $990, or you may be eligible for a fee reduction, whereby the cost will be $330. In applying for fee reduction, you will need to meet the necessary requirements. If you are submitting a joint application and only one party is eligible for the fee reduction, the full fee applies. Follow this link to see the guidelines for fee reduction. It is important to understand the fee for divorce applications prior to applying. 


Next Steps

The next step is to complete the application for divorce form and any additional documents required. Once all you divorce documents have been filled out you will then file the application with the Family Court by uploading them on the Commonwealth Court Portal and pay the filing fee. If you are a sole applicant, you will need to serve a copy of the application and associated documents, once sealed, on the respondent. Once you have served the documents on your ex-partner, you will need to file an affidavit of service. If, however, you are unable to serve the documents on your ex-partner, you may be able to apply for substituted service. If you and your ex-partner are joint applicants, you should both retain a copy of the filed documents for your own records. A divorce hearing is only required for some circumstances. A divorce certificate will finally be issued.

If you choose to go through the court system, we recommend seeking a lawyer to represent you. Obtaining legal advice through family law services is recommended to guide you through the divorce procedure. Please feel free to find out if you need a lawyer by contacting the local family law courts. If you do need a lawyer to represent you in your family law proceedings, advice from divorce lawyers at O’Loan Family Law can assist you. 


The Benefits Of A Family Lawyer When Filing for Divorce In Australia

When you’re filing for divorce in NSW, Australia, consider the advantages of hiring a reputable family lawyer:

  • Knowledge and proficiency: The primary benefit is your solicitor’s know-how, skill and experience in divorce proceedings, including precedents, negotiating, advocacy skills, and legal drafting. Having a family lawyer beside you also provides peace of mind with sound advice available at every step of the way.
  • Maintaining momentum: Separations can be fraught with emotion, frustration and distractions, drawing focus away from requirements. However, your lawyer’s insight can keep you engaged and on track.
  • Negotiating your case: It can be hard to meet face-to-face with your ex. As such, your family law solicitor negotiates your case on your behalf. In addition, your family law solicitor has the training, experience and objective state of mind to professionally and efficiently optimise your outcome.

Your law team’s strategy may also help you settle out of court, avoiding the stress of a trial. Further, family lawyers help resolve property division and child custody disputes calmly, with less disruption and a more friendly, win-win approach.


What You Can Expect From Us When Filing For Divorce

Should you wish to go ahead and file for divorce with O’Loan Family Law, the steps involved are as follows:

  • Initial consultation: We start by discussing your situation over the phone. Next, we’ll meet for a more in-depth consultation. Once we have all the details, we will advise you regarding any legal considerations. Please bring with you a written account of your case specifics and details of your children. We require up to 1 and a half hours, and if you would like to bring along a support person, they are of course welcome to attend.
  • Personalised solution with minimal litigation: We tailor our approach based on your unique circumstances. Should you and your spouse have reached an agreement already, we recommend our Assisted DIY separation option. Here, we assist in formalising your separation agreement for fast finalisation. Should reaching an agreement prove problematic, our role is to facilitate communications to finalise and formalise matters.
  • Out of court settlement options: Settle using Consent Orders or Collaborative Practice. We file consent orders at the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia without any court attendance. Once approved, these binding, practical and cost-effective Parenting and Property Consent Orders come into effect. However, should no agreement exist, consider Collaborative Practice. This option facilitates respectful, open negotiating, conducted in good faith and with professional advice and input. Should interactions be hostile, we may recommend court proceedings to ensure a fair hearing and outcome.

Should you be filing for divorce in NSW, you are under no obligation to go ahead with us. However, should you wish to hire us when filing for divorce, cost structures will be discussed during the consultation. We will then formalise the relationship by having you sign a Costs Agreement, part of our costs disclosure obligation to you.



If you do not complete your divorce paperwork in Australia, then you may be able to file for divorce later. However, you will need to wait until after the expiration date of the marriage certificate has passed, which is usually one year from the date of the wedding ceremony.

You may be able to apply for a court order to force your partner to sign them. However, if they refuse, then you will need to go to court yourself. The process could take up to 6 months, during which time you would be unable to remarry.

A legal separation in Australia is when two partners decide they want to live apart for some period of time, while still remaining married. This usually happens after one partner has been unfaithful. The other partner may be granted access to the children, property, and finances. If the couple decides to end the marriage, then a divorce must be obtained.


Why Choose O’Loan Family Law To File For Divorce In NSW

We are a boutique Family Law firm comprised of a team of efficient and eager ‘legal eagles’. Our flexible fee structure and transparent, honest, respectful and empathetic approach set us apart. We believe in collaboration rather than confrontation to achieve optimal solutions with the least upset to family structures, especially where children are involved.

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We’re expertly placed to help you with your de facto relationship matter. Organise a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation.