How to get a copy of your Divorce Certificate in Australia

Dr Maree Livermore
Founder & CEO

Proving that you’re legally divorced becomes necessary from time to time: for example, when you want to re-marry. In Australia, you prove a divorce the same way you prove a marriage—with a certificate.  This Insight sets out the steps for how get a Divorce Certificate in Australia, depending on where and when you were divorced. The processes are actually very easy and quick. But they’re not what most people think they are…   

What not to do

There are still a large percentage of people who expect to get a paper Divorce Certificate in the mail after their divorce proceedings, sometimes for months after the court hearing at which they thought a divorce order had been made. But then it doesn’t arrive and they might just keep on waiting and worrying until they seek some advice.  

Or they might call the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in their state or territory to get a Divorce Certificate, thinking that office must look after some sort of register of divorces. 

But Divorce Certificates no longer come in the mail (although they once did) and not so long ago. And state offices of Birth, Deaths and Marriages don’t look after divorces, which are a responsibility of the Commonwealth.  So looking in either of these directions is not going to get you your certificate and may potentially waste a lot of time.

If you’ve divorced recently

Your divorce will become final and legal exactly one month and a day after the divorce decree was made by the court.  There will be no announcement to you by email, telephone or in the snail mail about the expiry of this period.  You just have to keep an eye on the date. 

On the next working day after the one month and a day is up, login at the Comcourts portal using the file number for your divorce case.  If you don’t have the file number anymore, if you’re unsure about the dates, or if you’re not sure your divorce is actually final, contact the court by live chat or email to get things clear.

If your divorce is final, you should find your Divorce Certificate sitting waiting for you in the list of documents for your case after you login to the portal. Download and print!

Divorce in WA

If you were granted a divorce in Western Australia, no matter when, you must contact the Family Court of Western Australia to get your Divorce Certificate.

If you divorced after February 2010

Even if you did not use the Comcourts portal for your divorce, and are not reqistered at the Comcourts portal, the portal is still The Place to get your Divorce Certificateif you were divorced after February 2010.  But if you did not use the portal for your divorce, you may need the court’s help to get you registered or to give you access to the divorce file.

To get this process started, send an email to the court on providing the file number of your divorce (if you know this); your full name, date of birth, address and phone number; and the full name of your ex-spouse. The court office will then be able to process your registration and provide you with login details to access to your electronic divorce file through the portal.

It is completely free to get a Divorce Certificate from the portal.

If you divorced before February 2010

You will not be able to use the Commonwealth Courts portal to access your Divorce Certificate if you divorced before February 2010. Instead, fill out this Request Proof of Divorce form and make the electronic payment of $30.00 when requested. (Don’t try to use this form as a way to avoid the portal process if you divorced after February 2010. The court will re-direct you.) 

We’re still caught in the slightly uncomfortable divide between paper and digital usage in the family court system in this country.  For people who have divorced in an Australian state or territory other than Western Australia in the last 10 years, getting a copy of the divorce certificate via the portal will be easy and entirely fee-free experience. And if you’re divorce is older than that, there are offline processes, through the family court system, that are just as straightforward. 

See also: When is the right time to divorce