How to apply for divorce, the process, the roles of the respondent, and the role of the court in ensuring a fair and respectful dissolution of marriage.

Divorce is a significant life event that requires careful navigation through legal processes. In Australia, the divorce process is designed to be straightforward, aiming to ease the transition for couples seeking to end their marriage.

Initiating the Divorce Process:

To initiate the divorce process in Australia, follow these steps:

Step 1: Determine Eligibility Before proceeding, make sure you meet the eligibility criteria for divorce, including residency requirements and separation for at least 12 months.

Step 2: Obtain Application Forms Download the Application for Divorce form (form 3A) from the Family Court of Australia's website or obtain a physical copy from the court.

Step 3: Complete the Application Carefully fill out the application form, ensuring all required information is accurate and complete.

Step 4: Gather Supporting Documents Include copies of documents such as your marriage certificate, proof of citizenship or residency, and any required translations if applicable.

Serving the Application:

After completing the application, it must be served on the respondent (your spouse). There are several ways to serve the application:

  • In-Person: The application can be served by hand to the respondent.
  • By Post: A copy of the application can be sent by registered post.
  • Through a Lawyer: If the respondent has a lawyer, they can accept service on their behalf.

Respondent's Role:

Upon receiving the divorce application, the respondent has several options:

  • No Objection: If the respondent has no objection to the divorce, they can complete and sign a Notice of Intention to Respond form (form 3B) and return it to the court.
  • Objection: If the respondent objects to the divorce, they can file a Response to Divorce form (form 4) within 28 days of being served the application.

Court Proceedings:

If there is no objection from the respondent, or if the objection is resolved, the divorce process proceeds to court:

  • Hearing Date: If the application is in order and all requirements are met, the court will assign a hearing date for the divorce application.
  • Attendance: In most cases, neither party needs to attend the hearing unless requested by the court.
  • Decree Nisi: If the court grants the divorce, a Decree Nisi will be issued. This marks the first stage of divorce.

Finalising the Divorce:

After a period of one month and one day from the Decree Nisi, the applicant can apply for the Decree Absolute, which finalises the divorce. This step formally ends the marriage.


Applying for divorce in Australia involves careful attention to detail, adherence to legal processes, and clear communication with the respondent. By following the steps outlined above, couples can navigate the divorce process with a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities.