If your ex-partner doesn’t want a divorce or they won’t agree to apply together or you don’t want to ask them to apply together, you can apply on your own.
The court will process your application and give you a set of documents that need to be given to (served on) your ex-partner by someone else (not you).
The person who served your documents will need to fill in an Affidavit of Service to prove that your ex-partner was given the documents.
An easy way to do this is to get the person who served your documents to go to a Family Court. Court staff will help the person fill in the affidavit and then the court staff can witness it and accept it for filing.
If you’re applying for a divorce and don’t know where your ex-partner is living, you can ask the court if you can change the way the documents are served (this is called substituted service).
However, you must try to locate your ex-partner yourself first before applying for substituted service. For example, you should check the phone book and electoral roll, contact their family or friends, or try to find them online.
You’ll need to give this form to your local Family Court.
Once your ex-partner has been given the divorce documents, they have a set time to decide if they want to ask the Family Court not to approve the divorce. This is called defending the application. This is usually:
If your ex-partner asks the court not to approve the divorce, then there will be a defended hearing in front of a Family Court judge. The judge will hear from both of you and decide if there are grounds to make the Dissolution Order.
You will be legally divorced 1 month after the date the Dissolution Order is made. A copy will be sent to you at that stage.
If your ex-partner doesn’t do anything in the set time and you don’t want to appear in court, the court will check that the requirements are met and, if they are, make the Dissolution Order. The court will write to you to tell you the order has been made. 1 month after the order is made, it will become final and a copy will be sent to you.
If you want to appear in court, the court will tell you when you need to come to court. At the hearing, a judge will make the Dissolution Order and the divorce will be final on that day. The court will send copies of the Dissolution Order to both of you.
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