Divorce Process South Australia

Initiating the Divorce Process in South Australia: A Step-by-Step Guide.


Initiating a divorce can be a significant and life-changing decision. Understanding the process of initiating a divorce in South Australia is essential to navigate the legal requirements and ensure a smooth transition. In this article, we will provide a detailed step-by-step guide to help you initiate the divorce process in South Australia.

Step 1: Meet the Residency Requirement.

Before initiating a divorce in South Australia, you must meet the residency requirement. You or your spouse must:

  • Regard Australia as your permanent home, or
  • Be an Australian citizen, or
  • Have resided in Australia for at least 12 months immediately before filing for divorce.

Step 2: Determine Grounds for Divorce.

In South Australia, the only ground for divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This can be demonstrated by proving that you and your spouse have lived separately and apart for at least 12 months with no likelihood of reconciliation. Living separately and apart can be within the same residence if there is no cohabitation or marital relationship.

Step 3: Complete the Application for Divorce.

To initiate the divorce process, you need to complete the Application for Divorce form. This form can be obtained from the Family Court of Australia or downloaded from their website. The application requires information such as:

  • Personal details of both spouses.
  • Details of any children from the marriage.
  • Grounds for divorce and supporting evidence.
  • Arrangements for children (if applicable).

Step 4: Serve the Divorce Application.

After completing the Application for Divorce, you must serve it on your spouse. Service ensures that your spouse is aware of the divorce proceedings. The application can be served by:

  • A process server.
  • Registered post with a signed acknowledgment of receipt.
  • Personally handing the documents to your spouse.

Step 5: File the Divorce Application.

Once the application has been served on your spouse, you need to file it with the Family Court of Australia. Filing can be done online or in person at the court registry. You will need to provide the court with:

  • A copy of the application.
  • Evidence of serving the application on your spouse.
  • Payment of the filing fee (if applicable).

Step 6: Attend the Divorce Hearing (if required).

If there are no children of the marriage under the age of 18, and both parties agree to the divorce, a divorce hearing may not be necessary. However, if you have children under 18 or your spouse does not agree to the divorce, a hearing may be required. At the hearing, you may need to provide further evidence to support your case.

Step 7: Receive the Divorce Order.

Once the court is satisfied with the application, a Divorce Order will be issued. The divorce becomes final one month and one day after the order is granted. It is important to note that property and financial matters should be dealt with separately from the divorce process.


Initiating the divorce process in South Australia involves meeting residency requirements, determining the grounds for divorce, completing the application, serving it on your spouse, filing with the Family Court, and attending a hearing if necessary. It is advisable to seek legal advice from a qualified family law lawyer to ensure that you fulfill all the requirements and understand the implications of the divorce process.

Remember, the information provided in this article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. For personalized legal advice regarding your specific divorce case in South Australia, it is recommended to consult with a reputable family law lawyer.


Useful Links 

Legal Services Commission of SA.