How much does divorce cost in Australia in 2024?

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An overview of the legal expenses involved in the divorce process in Australia in 2024.
Australia Family and Matrimonial
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Do you want to know how much does divorce cost in Australia this 2024? If you do, read on to learn more.

In the land down under, divorce rates are very high, with almost 2 divorces per 1000 people. This data is according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Because a high percentage of people want to divorce in Australia, it's important to know how much divorce costs.

This article aims to answer the question of how much does divorce cost. The article gives an overview of the expenses involved in the divorce process. Notably, the question of how much does divorce cost is related only to the legal costs attached to getting a divorce.

Additional costs such as spousal maintenance (alimony), child support, and division of assets are different when we talk about how much does divorce cost. Getting a divorce can be slightly lengthy because of the various legal steps you must take.

However, it is a straightforward process once you've understood all the steps. This article will look at how much does divorce cost by analysing the steps involved in getting a divorce in Australia.

Primary Steps To Get A Divorce: Sole Application Vs Joint Application

How much does divorce cost will first depend upon whether you are making a sole application or a joint application. In a sole application, one party initiates the divorce proceedings and will need legal guidance. The sole applicant must pay a fee to legal professionals and additional filing fees to serve the application to their partner.

In this case, the partner who is being served with an application for divorce will not need to pay any fees. However, if they wish to oppose the application for divorce, they will need to pay the fees to change the application.

On the other hand, a joint application includes both partners preparing the application and filing for a divorce together. Through a joint application, one party must complete the application and provide a copy to the other for their review.

How Much Does Divorce Cost?

The overall costs may vary depending on the application you're making—sole or joint. This section will give you an idea of the costs associated with the different legal steps that need to be taken.

1. Initial Application Fees:

Depending on the kinds of orders you seek, the initial application fee can cost between $360 and $715. While some parties may seek final orders, others might seek interim orders from the court. If there's an interim order application, there might be an additional $140. However, the charges may still vary depending the circumstances.

2. Divorce Application Fees:

To apply for divorce, one must pay an application fee of $1060 (from $930 last 2023) at the time of application. Apart from this, a government filing fee will also be applicable. Here's the complete list of fee increase from 1 July 2023.

Some parties may be eligible to pay a reduced application fee of $350 in some situations. Parties may be eligible for this reduced fee in the following cases:

  • You are the primary cardholder (not a dependant of a primary cardholder) of a health care card, pensioner concession card, Commonwealth seniors health card, or any other card certifying entitlement to a concession issued by Services Australia, the Department of Veterans' Affairs, or
  • You have been granted Legal Aid, or
  • You are receiving youth allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY payments, or
  • You are under the age of 18, or
  • You are an inmate of a prison or otherwise legally detained in a public institution.

If you're applying for a decree of nullity, you must pay a filing fee of $1,505 or a reduced feee of $500. To know more about the reduced divorce filing fees, check out the guidelines from Australia's Family Court.

3. Service Fees:

As mentioned above, the fees may differ for sole and joint applications. If a party has made a sole application, they must pay additional court fees to serve this application to their partner.

This will either be done by posting the application to them (including postage fees) or through a third party who may charge separate fees.

4. Responding to Divorce Application Fees:

In case of sole applications where you have been served with a divorce application, you will not be required to pay any fees. However, if you wish to change the application, you will need to pay around $360 to ask the family court to make different orders or amend the existing divorce application.

How Much Does Divorce Cost: Other Legal Fees

The previous sections have covered the cost of divorce for all primary steps. However, because of how lengthy divorce proceedings can get and because of the various issues that follow a divorce, such as property settlement or child custody matters, people often seek the support of family lawyers.

The fees for divorce applications may vary depending on different firms and lawyers. Law firms and lawyers may offer fixed-fee prices, service-based fees, and no-win no-fees.

The "no-win, no-fees" price structure is irrelevant for divorce and family law. This fee structure is for litigation and commercial law cases. For family law cases involving simple divorce filing, fixed-fee pricing is desirable, as each party will know the legal costs involved before they proceed with their application.

For more complicated proceedings such as property settlement, child custody disputes, etc, service-based fees would be better. In every case, the first step is to book a consultation with your family lawyers.

Family Court Fees Exemption

Did you know that there is an exemption from paying filing fees to the family court in Australia? Under the law, the court can exempt you from paying filing fees if you satisfy the eligibility requirements mentioned above for fee reduction. Here are additional requirements for the exemption:

If you can't satisfy these requirements, you still have a remedy. In the event that paying the entire amount would put you in financial hardship due to your income, daily costs, liabilities, and assets, you may still qualify for an exemption from paying the fee.

To qualify for exemption due to financial hardship, you must pass these tests:

  1. income test
  2. assets test
  3. day-to-day living expenses and liabilities test.

Check out the complete guidelines on the FCFCOA website. However, do note that the Application for Divorce and Decree of Nullity are not eligible for exemption of court fees but it may be reduced to a lower amount.

Legal Advice From JB Solicitors

This article has given you an idea of how much does divorce cost. However, when you proceed with all the legal steps, you must seek legal advice from professionals. Family lawyers at JB Solicitors deal with divorce cases regularly.

They have experience in handling both simple and complicated divorce matters. Our family law team can provide expert advice on all matters related to a divorce or de facto separation.

As discussed in the previous section, lawyers' fees may vary. At JB Solicitors, we've made it easy for you to understand our fees. For simple divorce applications, we offer fixed-fee prices. In situations where your matter will involve other legal procedures, we also offer service-based fees.

At JBS, we value transparency. This is why we will discuss all costs at the outset of your matter. We will also give you cost agreements.

Importantly, having initial consultations with family lawyers is necessary so that you have a clear idea of both the legal proceedings and the costs involved.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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