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What is a Divorce Certificate?

Published on March 22, 2024

    Leen Setrak Sydney Lawyer

    About the Author

    Leen Setrak

    Since transitioning into family law, Leen has gained experience preparing joint and sole divorce applications, preparing applications for consent orders for families who have already reached agreements and helping individuals come to an agreement without the need for court intervention.

    Since transitioning into family law, Leen has gained experience preparing joint and sole divorce app... Read More

    Leen Setrak Sydney Lawyer

    Leena Setrak Family & Litigation Lawyer

    Author
    Leen started her legal career in 2017 as a legal assistant at national law firm that specialised in commercial litigation, family law and debt recovery. In 2019, Leen worked at a Sydney Law Firm as a paralegal where she was exposed to a number of commercial litigation matters, insolvency, family law and building and construction matters. Leen then moved into a graduate position at a litigation firm in the Sydney CBD where she worked as a solicitor in general insurance claims where she managed a number of large clients recovering motor vehicle property damage from third party insurance companies.

    Key Takeaways

    • A divorce certificate is the official record that your marriage has been legally terminated.
    • The divorce certificate is distinct from a decree nisi, which is a provisional order, and a decree absolute, which is the final court order ending the marriage. The certificate serves as proof for legal and administrative purposes post-divorce, such as remarrying or reverting to a maiden name.
    • Obtaining a divorce certificate can involve counselling (if married less than two years), fees, and potential delays caused by court proceedings or procedural issues.

    A divorce certificate is the final marker of a legally recognised separation—necessary for remarrying or officially reclaiming your single status. In this article, our divorce lawyers Sydney, explain how to acquire your divorce certificate, as well as outlines the associated fees, and provides an estimated timeframe for the entire process, aiming to simplify your post-divorce transitions.

    What is a divorce certificate?

    A divorce certificate is a court documents form that provides proof of divorce, serving as the official record that your marriage has been legally terminated. It’s similar to a marriage certificate, but instead of symbolising the beginning of a union, it marks its legal end.

    The divorce certificate is issued by the governing bodies of family law, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia once the divorce order takes effect.

    This certificate contains key details about the divorce process, such as the parties involved and the date the divorce was granted, making it an essential part of your divorce paperwork, including any additional divorce orders.

    Differences between a Divorce Certificate, Decree Absolute, and Decree Nisi

    While a divorce certificate, decree absolute, and decree nisi are all part of the divorce proceedings, each serves a different purpose.

    The divorce certificate is the official document that provides proof that your marriage has been legally dissolved. It is issued after the divorce order takes effect, marking the end of the divorce process.

    A decree nisi is a provisional order by the court indicating that it sees no reason a divorce cannot be granted. It’s the first step towards the finalisation of divorce proceedings, usually following a court hearing, which may even involve the Supreme Court in certain cases.

    The decree absolute is the final court order that officially ends the marriage. It can only be issued at least six weeks and one day after the decree nisi. Unlike the divorce certificate, these documents play an active role in the divorce proceedings, paving the way for the issuance of the divorce certificate.

    The importance of divorce certificate

    The divorce certificate is more than just a piece of paper; it carries considerable legal weight and serves as an essential tool for various administrative tasks post-divorce.

    Proof of Divorce

    One of the most important roles your divorce certificate plays is to serve as the legal proof that you are no longer bound by your previous marriage. This means that you can remarry if you wish to.

    Why and when you might need your divorce certificate?

    In addition to providing the legal proof of your divorce, your divorce certificate may also be needed if you want to revert to your maiden name or if you need to address financial matters related to the dissolved marriage. In essence, the divorce certificate is a testament to the fact that your marriage broke down irretrievably and that the court has officially recognised this dissolution.

    Applying for Divorce certificate

    Applying for a divorce certificate is easier than you may expect.

    First, you must ensure your divorce is final, which happens one month and one day after it’s granted. If your divorce was finalised after February 13, 2010, you can download the digital divorce order from the Commonwealth Courts Portal for free. This digital order, with an electronic seal and signature, is the official proof of divorce. For divorces before this date or granted in Western Australia, different processes apply. There’s a $30 fee for searching court records and issuing the proof of divorce if it’s found.

    How long does it take to get divorce certificate

    The time it takes to get the divorce certificate can vary greatly based on several factors. In general, if you are yet to divorce, it can take a few months to finalise a divorce and receive a divorce order, starting from applying for divorce in Australia and filing your application with the court. However, procedural issues like difficulties in locating or serving the spouse with divorce papers can significantly extend this timeline.

    To be able to access your divorce certificate, the divorce must be final, and this occurs one month and one day after it is granted, which is when the divorce order is issued. Delays can occur at various stages, including issues with paperwork, procedural steps not being followed, or the court’s dissatisfaction with arrangements for children. Therefore, it’s essential to take these potential delays into account when planning for the future after your divorce.

    FAQs about divorce certificates

    Divorce proceedings can often lead to a multitude of questions, especially concerning divorce certificates. These concerns can range from understanding the divorce process to knowing when you can remarry after a divorce.

    How do you check if you are divorced?

    To check if you are divorced, you can obtain official proof of divorce at no cost from the Commonwealth Courts Portal if the divorce was finalised after 13 February 2010. This proof of divorce is a digital order with an electronic seal and signature and is the only proof of divorce provided by the courts.

    Do I need a divorce certificate to remarry in Australia?

    Yes, you need a divorce certificate or former spouse’s death certificate to remarry in Australia. It is a legal requirement for re-marriage in the country.

    How much does it cost to get a divorce certificate?

    It costs $30 to obtain a divorce certificate if your divorce was finalised prior to February 13, 2010. If your divorce was finalised after this, you can get the certificate at no cost through the Commonwealth Courts Portal.

    How we can help you

    Navigating through the maze of legal proceedings that surround a divorce can be overwhelming. Which is where our team here at Unified Lawyers can help. We offer a wide range of family law services, including assisting and guiding through various aspects of your separation and divorce such as handling parenting matters, property settlements, and all the intricate details that come from the end of a relationship.

    Our team of experienced family lawyers Australia can guide you through the divorce process, ensure all your paperwork is in order, and help you secure your divorce certificate. We understand the emotional toll that divorce can take, and we are committed to making this process as smooth and uncomplicated as possible for you.

    Discuss your situation with one of our family lawyers today during a free consultation. Call us on 1300 667 461 or book your consultation using the button below.

    Leen Setrak Sydney Lawyer

    Leena Setrak Family & Litigation Lawyer

    Author
    Leen started her legal career in 2017 as a legal assistant at national law firm that specialised in commercial litigation, family law and debt recovery. In 2019, Leen worked at a Sydney Law Firm as a paralegal where she was exposed to a number of commercial litigation matters, insolvency, family law and building and construction matters. Leen then moved into a graduate position at a litigation firm in the Sydney CBD where she worked as a solicitor in general insurance claims where she managed a number of large clients recovering motor vehicle property damage from third party insurance companies.

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