One of the easier parts of filing for divorce is filling out forms for the Family Court. Here, we’ll explain what you need to know and the required forms to start the divorce process in the Family Court, as well as if you need to go to court in person.
How Do You Begin The Process For Divorce? What Do You Need?
Start by gathering up the necessary documents:
o Your marriage certificate from Births, Deaths & Marriages if you were married in WA, or a ceremonial certificate if you were married elsewhere in Australia
o If you married overseas, you’ll need to contact that country’s relevant authority to obtain one.
o If you are unable to obtain a marriage certificate, you will need to include an affidavit with your paperwork indicating the date and details of your marriage and why you are unable to obtain a certificate.
o Note: if your marriage certificate isn’t in English, you will need to have it translated. You’ll need both the original certificate, the English translation, and the Affidavit of Translation of a Marriage Certificate from the translator.
o Meet proof of jurisdiction with either your birth certificate, citizenship certificate or other documentation, such as a passport, to show:
o You are an Australian citizen by birth or descent
o Have applied for and been granted Australian citizenship
o Regard Australia as your home and intend to live here indefinitely
o Lived in Australia for 12 consecutive months prior to filing.
o If you’ve been married for less than two years, you must first attend marriage counselling. You’ll still need to be separated for 12 months, and when applying for divorce, you must include your certificate of completion with your divorce application.
If your marriage was outside of Australia, either you or your spouse must meet one of the above qualifications to apply for a divorce.
You will need to scan all your documents so you can attach them to your divorce application.
What Forms Do You Need To Fill Out?
There are two ways to file a divorce: sole and joint. If you decide to file jointly and have no children under 18 or have children under 18, you will not have to attend a court hearing.
Once you’ve gathered the documents, you’ll need to go online at the eCourts Portal of Western Australia, register, and begin filling out the Application for Divorce on the court’s website. At this time you’ll also need to attach the aforementioned scanned documents.
In your application, you will only need to state that the marriage is irretrievably broken down and there is no chance of reconciliation.
Additionally, you’ll need to print and sign the divorce application and an Affidavit for E-Filing Application in front of a witness (and an interpreter if needed.) Sole applicants will only fill out their part of the affidavit; joint filers will both be required to fill out and sign this affidavit with a witness present. Both parties do not have to sign the form at the same time, only have a witness when signing.
The court has all the divorce-related forms available on its website, along with information kits for applicants.
How Much Does The Process Cost?
As of July 2022, the Application for Divorce is $990. Those eligible for reduced fees pay $330. From there, the cost will depend on how much more is involved in your case.. These fees are paid directly to the court through the portal.
The complete list of costs is available on the court’s website. Fees are due at the time of filing and require the use of a debit or credit card (Mastercard or Visa.)
There are also costs for serving the divorce papers to your partner if you are filing sole. Service must be arranged with another person besides yourself, or through post or through electronic means.
If you decide or need to work with a divorce lawyer, you’ll also be responsible for their fees in addition to any costs for the court. Much will depend on whether the divorce is filed sole or joint, and the costs of serving a party.
Should you be the party that’s being served, you won’t have to pay court costs unless you file an opposition, or need to file a separate order with the court. You’ll also be responsible for your own legal fees if you decide to retain your own divorce lawyer.
How Much Time Will It Take To Process The Forms? How Much Time Does The Whole Process Take?
Once filed, you’ll be given the opportunity to pick a court date, even if you don’t have to attend. The court processes the forms prior to the court date.
The time it takes the court to grant a divorce will depend on how busy that court is at the time. On average, it takes between one to three months after filing. In some cases, it may take as long as four months. However, the divorce is not final until one month and one day after the divorce hearing.
Everything will depend on the details of your case. You’ll go through the Family Court for all hearings and decisions. However, getting from the filing stage to a granted divorce can take as long as 18 months, and possibly more than two years.
Note that the divorce only affects the legal status of the marriage. Child custody arrangements, financial and property settlements are handled separately. Should you and your partner disagree on child custody, they can request that the Family Court step in and handle the issues.
Who Can Help You?
We can, and we do, help people just like you every day.
If you are unsure about what you need to file your divorce, get help from a divorce lawyer who knows the ins and outs of filing as well as how the laws and the court systems work. At Savannah Legal, we’ll make sure your forms are filled out correctly, and that you have all the correct documents before you file. We also keep you abreast of developments in your case and stick with you throughout the process.
Savannah Legal offers a free 1-hour consultation and we take the time to understand your situation, concerns and needs, before providing you with a legal plan outlining your options. Our goal is to give you affordable legal advice while lifting a burden off your shoulders. Book your free consultation today.