A step-by-step guide on how to serve the application for divorce

Obtaining the services of an experienced family lawyer will make the process of getting a divorce a lot easier. Having said that, we at Aussiedivorce believe it is useful for you to understand the process of serving an application for divorce and to know what steps are required to obtain your Divorce Order.

Here are the steps to follow:

Firstly, you have to file an Application for Divorce at the Federal Circuit Court. Only then may you serve your divorce papers on the other party.

What does “serving” mean?

In simple terms, it means that the documents must be delivered to your spouse, in accordance with court rules, at his or her place of work or home address.

When must you serve the documents?

If your spouse is in Australia, it must be served at least 28 days before the Court hearing date.

If your spouse is out of the country, it must be served at least 42 days before the hearing date.

What papers must be served?

  • A copy of the Application for Divorce, stamped by the court
  • A copy of the Marriage, Families and Separation Brochure
  • Copies of any other supporting documents filed with the Federal Circuit Court relating to your application
  • Acknowledgment of Service (to be signed by the respondent)

Who can serve the papers?

Anyone over the age of 18 years may serve the papers on your behalf. In many instances it might be better to obtain the services of a private process server, or the Sheriff of the Local Court. They are professionals who understand the process.

Take note: You cannot serve the documents yourself.

What happens if you don’t know where your spouse is?

If you have made every effort to contact your spouse but you have not been able to, you may apply to have the service requirement waived.

You need to complete a separate waiver application and this application needs to be filed with your Application for Divorce.

In this application you need to include:

  • The last time you had contact with your spouse;
  • All attempts made by you to locate your spouse.

Do you need a lawyer?

It is always a good idea to seek legal advice early on in the process if you are considering filing for divorce. A lawyer with experience in this field can advise you on the best course to take in your particular circumstances.



Alan Weiss

23rd March, 2020

Alan Weiss developed aussiedivorce.com.au after he experienced himself how devastating divorce proceedings can be. I witnessed firsthand my own future security, and that of my familys, being destroyed by acrimonious and costly divorce litigation. I created aussiedivorce.com.au to help people avoid an experience like this and lose thousands of dollars. Instead the aussiedivorce.com.au system will assist them in getting on with their lives.