Can you get a divorce without the other person signing in Australia?

By 14 May, 2019Divorce
How to get a divorce in Australia

Like most things in life sometimes actions you undertake proceed smoothly but at other times every possible problem that could occur arises. Applying for a divorce can sometimes appear this way.

This week we look at real-life examples of matters that have arisen in our recent divorce applications.

Getting your marriage certificate

When filing a divorce application the production of your marriage certificate being either the certificate issued on the day of your marriage or from a Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages is needed to get your application underway. A number of our applicants, unfortunately, do not hold a copy of their certificate and this has led us to deal with the following issues:-

  • Applying to the Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages in Victoria. For reasons unknown, the Victorian Registry has the most onerous requirements to obtain a copy of a marriage certificate. Due to privacy concerns, they require several certified documents from both ourselves as the solicitor and also you as the applicant to proceed. Whilst this can be overcome it can lead to some delay and frustration. The best thing we can say if you need your certificate in Victoria is to be patient while we get your certificate from the Registry.
  • Marriage certificate not in English. Australia is a cosmopolitan country and many people who live here are born outside Australia and indeed, married there. If your Marriage Certificate is not in English then we need to find an appropriate person to translate the certificate. Once again a common sense approach is adopted and we assist you in locating a translator and ascertain the cost of the translation. Unfortunately, the cost of translating your certificate will need to be met by you and we will provide you with an individual quote as required.

Serving the application

Of all the steps in your divorce application arranging service throws up the most challenges. In recent weeks we have had issues where the former spouse has now relocated overseas to an indeterminate location or lives at an address unknown to their former spouse. Initially, our first approach is to email where possible the former spouse to see if they will respond in writing confirming the receipt of the application and if possible sign the Acknowledgment of Service. The alternative to this will then be to engage a process server to endeavour to serve your former spouse if they are located in Australia. On average the cost of this is between $150 to $250.

When your former spouse is overseas personal service can be a problem. We will explore with you whether anyone in Australia who knows your former spouse can be served as an alternative or ultimately, even if Court will proceed without them being served where it is impossible to locate them or anyone else who can be served. This has been the case with a recent application where the former spouse is in the Pacific Islands.

Ultimately the Court hearing your divorce application must be satisfied as to what best endeavours you have undertaken and we will prepare the necessary affidavit for you to sign to work through this.

My former spouse is in prison

In a recent application, the former spouse had been in prison for violent offences. Fortunately, there are rules that apply to service on prisoners and this means serving the Head Warden of the prison with the document and receiving the Acknowledgment of Service from them. The divorce can then proceed.


Each divorce is similar but not the same. However, using the experienced team at Your Divorce means that nearly all possible variations have been seen before and we can advise you properly as to your best option and proceeding with getting the divorce finalised. Do not hesitate to contact the helpful team at Your Divorce at