Australians can usually get a divorce in Australia provided that certain conditions are met

If you were married or are now living overseas, can you get a divorce in Australia?The answer is yes if you or your spouse are an Australian citizen. If neither spouse is a citizen, you may be able to file for divorce in Australia if either spouse is an Australian resident.

Who can apply for a divorce in Australia?

Australian law permits either spouse to apply for a divorce in Australia if at least one spouse:

  • is a citizen of Australia,
  • usually lives in Australia and has done so for at least 12 months before filing for divorce, or
  • regards Australia as his or her home and intends to live in Australia indefinitely.

As long as you or your spouse fit into one of those categories, it does not matter where you were married.

How do I prove my eligibility?

If you are an Australian citizen but you were not born in Australia, you will need to prove your eligibility by supplying the court with a copy of your citizenship certificate.

If you are not a citizen but have resided in Australia for the last 12 months, you will need to provide the court with a copy of your passport or visa showing your most recent date of entry into the country. You may also need to provide documentation showing other dates on which you entered and remained in Australia.

If I am Australian, can I get a divorce overseas?

As long as a divorce is considered valid in the country that grants it, your overseas divorce will be regarded as valid in Australia.

Can I get a divorce in Australia without returning from overseas?

If you are Australian, you can file for divorce in Australia from the country of your current residence. You must provide an Australian address at which papers can be served and you will need to arrange for those papers to be forwarded to you.

You will need to have your application for divorce notarized or witnessed by an official of the Australian consulate in the country of your residence. You may want to discuss procedures in more detail with a representative of that consulate. If your spouse contests the divorce, however, it may be difficult or impossible to proceed without returning to Australia for a court hearing. You should get advice from a lawyer in Australia if that problem arises.