How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Australia?

How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Australia?

By Ezra Sarajinsky

· Read time: 5 minutes

The cost of a divorce in Australia varies and can range from $350 to $1060, excluding legal representation expenses.

The total expense hinges on whether individuals opt for divorce proceedings with or without legal assistance, and the intricacy of the divorce itself. 

Filing for divorce independently incurs only the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia’s (‘Court’) filing fee outlined below. 

However, filing without using a lawyer may result in incomplete applications, potential errors, and inadequate understanding of the financial ramifications or other legal implications. 

The overall cost typically includes:

  • Filing fees with the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFOA)
  • Legal fees
  • Potential expenses for a process server (for Sole applications)
  • Court costs if the respondent opposes the application.

It’s important to recognise that divorce is distinct from property settlements or parenting arrangements – it solely pertains to the dissolution of marriage.

How do you claim the reduced Divorce application cost?

A party may qualify for a reduction in their divorce filing fee under the following circumstances:

Holding any of the following cards issued by the Department of Human Services:

  •    Health care card
  •    Pensioner concession card
  •    Commonwealth seniors health card
  •    Any other card issued by the Department of Human Services or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs certifying entitlement to Commonwealth health concessions


  • Being granted Legal Aid
  • Receiving youth allowance, Austudy, or ABSTUDY payments
  • Being under eighteen (18) years old
  • Being an inmate of a prison
  • Being otherwise legally detained in a public institution.

The 2 types of Divorce Application

When initiating the divorce process, there are two options available:

  1. Joint Application: The parties file jointly, or
  2. Sole Application: One party files individually.

Joint Divorce Application

A joint application entails extra time for the parties or their legal representatives to coordinate, ensuring that all details and facts in the application are mutually agreed upon. 

Since the application is jointly agreed upon and submitted, there’s no requirement to serve it on either party. 

Additionally, neither the parties nor their legal representatives need to attend the divorce hearing in Court, as the case will be handled “on the papers” in Chambers.

Sole Divorce Application Application

On the contrary, a sole application necessitates additional time for attending the divorce hearing in court and for serving the application on the applicant’s former partner. 

Serving the application incurs an additional fee (discussed below).

The expenses associated with attending court in a sole application and coordinating with the other party in a joint application are comparable. Therefore, the primary distinction between the fees for a joint and sole application lies in the cost of personal service by a service agent (“Process Server”) to deliver the application to the other party. 

The Cost of Legal Fees

The legal fees involved can vary depending on whether one or both parties in a separation have sought legal representation. 

The fee may differ based on the expertise, seniority, and experience of the representing lawyer, unless a law firm offers a fixed fee. 

Clients engaging a lawyer to prepare and file their divorce application incur similar costs in both sole and joint applications. 

This is because the lawyer either needs to attend the divorce hearing in a sole application or engage in more extensive communication with the other party in a joint application.

It’s important to distinguish divorce from the financial settlement of the parties. Financial settlement is typically more intricate and, if parties fail to reach an agreement on their own, may result in significantly higher legal fees. 

The process of preparing and filing a divorce application typically requires several hours of work, ranging from 2 to 6 hours for legal representation, depending on the complexity of the divorce. 

For instance, in cases where parties separate but continue to reside under the same roof throughout the separation period, an additional Affidavit detailing their separation is required.

Fees for “Service”

When filing for divorce as a sole applicant, it’s essential to ensure that your partner receives the divorce application. Since you cannot serve the application yourself, you have the option to have a third party deliver it or to send the documents directly by post. Consequently, it’s important to include postage fees in your overall costs.

Opting for a professional divorce application service provider to serve your application will involve additional fees. Therefore, if you’re considering this option, it’s advisable to conduct thorough research beforehand.

Fees by the ‘Respondent’

If an individual is responding to an Application for Divorce and agrees with the application, they generally won’t incur any fees. However, if they oppose the divorce application or intend to request the Court to issue a different order, they will be required to pay a fee of $410 to amend the application.


In the end, the expense of divorce in Australia fluctuates and relies on various factors. 

Nevertheless, in straightforward divorces, the cost primarily revolves around the Court’s filing fee.

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