Can I apply for a Divorce if I’ve been married for less than 2 years?

Can I apply for a divorce if I’ve been married for less than 2 years?
If you are looking to apply for a divorce in Australia, you must be separated from your spouse for at least 12 months and one day. Additionally, one or both of the parties must have a connection to Australia. If you have been married for less than 2 years at the time you file your Application for Divorce, there is an additional requirement.

A connection to Australia can be demonstrated through:

  • Australian citizenship;
  • regarding Australia as home and intending to live in Australia indefinitely; or
  • residing in Australia for the 12 months immediately before filing for divorce.

To learn more about your eligibility to apply for divorce in Australia, you can take our simple quiz: Am I eligible for divorce in Australia?

Have you been married less than 2 years when applying for divorce?

The two-year period is calculated from the date of the marriage to the date of applying to the Court for a divorce. Therefore, it can include the time that you and your spouse have been separated.

However, there are further requirements if the marriage lasted less than 2 years at the time of applying for divorce.

For example, if you married on 10 January 2020 and subsequently separated on 1 March 2020, you could apply for a divorce on 2 March 2021, but you must comply with further conditions as the marriage lasted less than two years.

However, if you waited until 11 January 2022, more than 2 years of marriage will have passed and you can apply for a divorce without needing to meet the additional requirements.

Additional requirements when applying for a divorce after a short marriage

If you have been married for less than 2 years and want to apply for a divorce, you must either:

  1. attend counselling with your spouse; or
  2. seek permission of the Court to apply for a divorce without attending counselling.

Attend counselling when applying for divorce after a short marriage

The first option when applying for divorce after a marriage of less than two years is to attend counselling with your spouse to discuss the possibility of reconciliation. You can visit a family counsellor, or a nominated counsellor. This might be an individual or organisation nominated for the parties by a family consultant or a qualified officer of the Court.

If you are looking for a counsellor to assist you, you can visit Family Relationships Online or call them on 1800 050 321.

Once you have attended counselling, the counsellor must complete a Counselling Certificate for you to file with your Application for Divorce. You can print a blank copy of the certificate from the Federal Circuit and Family Court website here.  Take this form to your counsellor for them to complete and return to you.

Seek permission without attending counselling

We understand that sometimes attending counselling with your ex-partner may not be possible or may raise concerns around family violence. Under these circumstances, you can file an Affidavit alongside your Application for Divorce, seeking permission to get a divorce if married under two years, without attending counselling.

An Affidavit is a written statement that is sworn or affirmed with a qualified witness, such as a Justice of the Peace or a lawyer.

In the Affidavit, you will need to explain why you and your former spouse have not attended counselling and why it is inappropriate for you to attend counselling.

Examples of when counselling is not possible or appropriate may include the following:

  • If you are unable to locate your former spouse, in which case you will need to explain attempts you have made to find them (e.g. attempting to contact them via social media, their last known postal address, mobile number or email address);
  • If your spouse is in another country and unable to participate in counselling;
  • If your former spouse refuses to attend counselling, you will need to explain attempts you have made to invite them to attend (e.g. if they did not attend a scheduled counselling appointment);
  • If there are any special circumstances in your matter, including family violence concerns in attending counselling or family or domestic violence orders which may be in place.

How can a family lawyer help?

Family Law Resolutions are here to help if you are looking for assistance in applying for Divorce when you have been married for less than 2 years.

If you would like to discuss your situation in more detail, you can book a free no obligation phone consultation with one of our lawyers. We assist separated couples across Australia with all aspects of separation and family law.

Booking a consultation

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