Can I apply for a Divorce in Australia if I was married overseas?

01 February 2013

An Australian Court has the jurisdiction to grant a Divorce if you were married outside of Australia, as long as at least one of the following pre-conditions apply:

  • You or your spouse are domiciled in Australia (domiciled means you regard Australia as your home and intend to live indefinitely in Australia); or
  • You or your spouse are an Australian Citizen; or
  • You or your spouse ordinarily live in Australia and have lived in Australia for at least one year immediately before applying for divorce

As long as one of the above conditions is satisfied, then the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Magistrates Court will be able to hear your Divorce Application.  So, for example, let’s say the following applies:

  • you are a citizen of the United Kingdom and were married five years ago to an Australian Citizen in the USA
  • you separated two years ago and you went to live in New Zealand
  • your spouse now lives in India

Under those particular circumstances, because your spouse is an Australian Citizen, you are entitled to apply for a Divorce in Australia even though you are not an Australian citizen and were not married in Australia.  Of course, to be granted a Divorce by the Australian Court, you must satisfy the usual requirements of the marriage having broken down irretrievably, be separated for at least 12 months, and, satisfy the Court that proper arrangements have been made for any children of the marriage.

So even if you live outside of Melbourne or Victoria, we may be able to apply for a Divorce on your behalf without you needing to come to Melbourne.

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