Getting divorced legally ends your marriage to your ex-partner. 

A divorce order changes your legal status to recognise your marriage has ended. However, the court will not deal with arrangements for children or how property will be divided as part of your divorce case. The court process for disputes about children and property issues are separate to a divorce case. 

Quick Answers Video: Separation and divorce
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What do I need to show to get a divorce?

You need to show the court that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. This is shown by being separated from your ex-partner for at least 12 months before making an application for divorce. You also need to show that there is no chance of reconciliation (getting back together).

Australia has 'no-fault' divorce laws. You and your ex-partner do not need to show that someone was at fault for the breakdown of the relationship.

What if I was married for less than 2 years?

If you have been married for less than 2 years (including at least 12 months of separation), you will need to go to counselling and a get certificate showing you have tried counselling. You will need to give this certificate to the court when you apply for a divorce.

It may be possible to seek an exemption from the counselling requirement in some cases. For example, if there has been family violence or abuse.

How can I apply for a divorce?

You can apply for a divorce online through the eCourts Portal of WA.

You can make a sole application to the court for divorce or a joint application with your ex-partner.

You will need to pay a fee when you apply to the court for a divorce. For information about filing fees, see the Family Court of WA webpage, Fees.

Do I need to attend a court hearing?

You need to attend a court hearing if:

  • You or your ex-partner have made a sole application for divorce and you have children under 18 years of age (including adopted and stepchildren). The court will need to see that there are arrangements in place for your children before it will grant the divorce. However, you do not need to have reached a final agreement about care arrangements or to have court orders.
  • Either you or your ex-partner lodge a response with the court objecting to the divorce (if you don't attend the court might go ahead and make a decision about the divorce without you being there). 

If a joint application has been made by you and your ex-partner, neither of you will have to attend court, even if you have children under 18 years of age.

If you don’t have children under 18 years of age you do not need to attend court, this is regardless of whether it is a sole or joint application for divorce.

Can I object to a divorce?

There are only two reasons you can object to a divorce:

  • you and your ex-partner had not been separated for 12 months when the divorce application was made, or
  • the court does not have jurisdiction (power) to grant the divorce.

If your ex-partner applies for a divorce, and you want to object to the divorce, you should get legal advice about your situation. To object to a divorce, you need to file a response form.

If there are mistakes in the application (such as the spelling of names or incorrect details), you can also file a response to ask for the mistakes to be fixed. You can do this without objecting to the divorce itself.  

More information

Family Court of WA


Reviewed: 14 April 2022


The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.