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How Much Does a Divorce Cost?

Caley Kim
Barrister and Solicitor

Posted on 25/05/2020, Last Updated on 28/05/2020

 

How much does it cost to get a divorce from start to finish? The total cost of a Divorce Application varies on a case-by-case basis, but will ultimately be determined by the following factors:

  • the filing fee;
  • associated legal fees (in the event you engage a Solicitor);
  • whether or not evidence of living separately under one roof is required;
  • costs related to serving the application on your former spouse; and
  • further costs in the event the Application is dismissed (if warranted)

 

In its simplest form, a Divorce Application which requires no additional evidence and is served without complications is likely to cost between $2,110 and $3,010 in filing and legal fees.

 

The Filing Fee

You can apply for a divorce individually (Sole Application), or together with your spouse (Joint Application), provided you meet the necessary legislative requirements. 

The current fee for filing a Divorce Application is $910 (effective from 1 July 2019), which is set by the Family Court. 

However, you may be eligible for a reduced filing fee of $305 if you hold certain government concession cards (e.g. Health Care Card, Pensioner Concession Card, Seniors Health Card), or if you can demonstrate financial hardship. Specific forms must be completed and filed in order to claim the fee reduction. 

Please note that a divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage as pronounced by the Family Court, which then enables you to remarry. It does not resolve parenting or financial matters between the parties.

 

Legal Fees

Generally speaking, legal fees for a “simple” Divorce Application where there are no delays or hiccups (e.g. issues related to service, requirement to provide further affidavit evidence, etc.) are likely to be between:

  1. $1,200 and $1,800 plus the filing fee and disbursements for a Joint Application; or
  2. $1,800 and $2,100 plus the filing fee and disbursements for a Sole Application.

If there are other factors associated with your Divorce Application such as issues related to service of your Application (e.g. if you are unable to locate your former spouse to effect service) or providing further evidence to the Court to verify a period of “separation under one roof”, legal fees will be increased correspondingly.

 

Costs for serving your Divorce Application

If you are filing a Sole Application for divorce, the “sealed” Application (i.e. after the filed Application has been “stamped” by the Court) must be served on your former spouse within a specific timeframe, and prescribed forms must be filed to prove service of the Application.

If your former spouse resides in Australia, the Application must be served at least 28 days before the hearing date of your Application. If your former spouse lives overseas, the time limit for service is 42 days.

In the event your former spouse refuses to accept service of the Application, it may become necessary to engage a Process Server to formally serve the Application on him/her personally. The cost of engaging a Process Server will vary depending on the location of your former spouse, the number of attempts made to effect service, etc.

If your former spouse cannot be located despite best efforts, a further Application will need to be filed in Court seeking orders for “substituted service” on a third party well-known to your former spouse and/or dispensing with the requirement for service on your former spouse.

 

Costs related to proving a period of “Separation Under One Roof”  

The total cost of your Divorce Application may be increased if you are seeking to rely on a period of “separation under one roof” as part of the required 12-month separation period (i.e. that despite residing at the same address, you had ceased living together as a married couple). In order for you to do so, further evidence must be provided to the Court to verify the period of separation under one roof by way of an affidavit. 

For a Joint Application, both you and your former spouse can each file an affidavit. Alternatively, if you are filing a Sole Application, you will need to file an affidavit from you as the Applicant, and another affidavit from a third party who is aware of the circumstances of your separation.

 

Further costs in case of your Divorce Application being Dismissed

In the event you fail to provide sufficient evidence to the Court, or fail to adequately comply with / participate in the Application process (e.g. to verify a period of separation under one roof, or in support of your supplementary Application seeking orders for substituted service or dispensation of service) the Court may, in certain circumstances, dismiss your Application entirely. Should this occur, you will need to file a “fresh” Divorce Application and pay the requisite filing fee again.

 

Get Expert Advice

At DS Family Law, our team of dedicated family lawyers are fully cognisant of the legislative requirements relevant to divorce, and are able to guide you through the process to avoid any unnecessary delay and expense in obtaining a divorce order.

For further information about the Divorce Application process and answers to frequently asked questions related to divorce, please see our article: 17 Things you Need to Know About the Divorce Process”.

To enquire about issues regarding your divorce, call DS Family Law on (08) 9486 1766 or complete the enquiry form below to arrange an initial consultation.

 

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For practical advice about what you should do next, please call to arrange a no-obligation initial consultation.