How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Australia?
Divorce can be very taxing - on your time, your emotions and on your finances. However, everyone’s circumstance is different and when approached the right way divorce can also be relatively straightforward and inexpensive. The complexity and cost of a divorce in Australia differs greatly from situation to situation and is dependent on a number of variables. In its most basic application, you lodge your application and pay a filing fee. In reality however, there can be, and often are, many more steps - and costs incurred - along the way, even after your divorce has been granted. We share what you can expect, and what can effect how much your divorce will cost in Australia.
Divorce Costs - Application Fees
The cost for an Application for Divorce in Australia as of September 2022 is $990. This fee is paid to the courts and must be paid at the time of application.
You may also be eligible for a reduced fee of $330 if you hold certain government concession cards or you can demonstrate financial hardship.
Sole Application Vs Joint Application
One of the various factors that will affect the cost of your divorce in Australia is whether you are making an application by yourself (sole application) or with your former spouse (joint application). If you are making a sole application, you are known as the applicant and the other party is known as the respondent. You will need to pay a fee to legal professionals, and additional fees to serve the application to you partner. You cannot serve this yourself.
In a sole application, the respondent will not need to pay any fees. If the choose to oppose the application for divorce, however, they will need to pay the fees to change the application.
There are also fees for initiating the application, which range between $385 & $755 depending on what sort of order you are seeking, such us a final or order or a parenting order.
Divorce Lawyer Costs in Australia
Not all divorces will require the cost of a legal professional, however we do advise you seek legal advice before signing any legal document.
There is typically no set fee for family lawyers, however, the more complex your case or work required, the more your fees are likely to be. This is because most family lawyers charge a fee-for-service. This means you only pay for the service you receive, typically charged per hour or unit of time.
Divorce lawyer costs vary greatly across Australia and even in Queensland, but it is always advisable to enlist the help of a legal professional who is clear and open about their costs and charges from the very beginning so there are no hidden surprises. You should be provided with a fee estimate by your family lawyer early on in the process which sets out suggested fee brackets for each stage of your matter. This estimate should be updated and provided to you as your matter develops so that you can stay informed about the potential associated costs.
At Pullos, we can provide a free information pack and can assemble your complete relationship history online, which will help us reduce costs if you book in for an appointment. Otherwise, you can request a call here.
Other Divorce Costs To Consider
There are, of course, a wealth of other divorce costs to consider. These might be related to the process of divorce based on your individual needs, or costs associated with living separately.
If you and your former spouse have not been able to come to an agreement, you may wish to consider using a mediator. A mediator can guide both parties towards a mutual agreement without the need for a judge.
We suggest using a Nationally Accredited Mediator to assist in the dispute resolution process. A mediator will be able to work with you, the other party and each of your legal representation, if you are represented, to draft an agreement that serves your best interests. This agreement can be reviewed by your lawyers and ultimately, formalized by a judge. Mediation is less combative and far less expensive than litigation, and provide you with more flexibility to agree on terms that are actually important to you.
Pullos Lawyers provide expert mediation and alternative dispute resolution services in addition to our extensive range of family law services. Please get in touch to find out if this might be a suitable option for you.
Costs of Separating Assets
If you have been together for some time, it’s likely you will have shared assets that will need to be separated. A formal property settlement will ensue these are divided equitably, and ensure that correct property valuations are ascertained.
You may wish to consider how the division of assets will affect your financial position, as well as the cost and time required for the property settlement itself.
Spousal Maintenance Costs
When it comes to working out how much your divorce will cost in Australia, it is important to factor in potential spousal maintenance costs.
As a couple, you may have been relying on both incomes to support both partners living costs. Once separated, it may be that one spouse cannot support themselves on a single income. This may be due to one partner stopping work to care for a child / children, or where their income is much lower than the other partner’s. In this instance, they may be able to receive spousal maintenance from the other partner. We share some more info on how spousal maintenance is calculated in Australia here.
Child support Costs
In Australia, both parents are financially responsible for their child/children following a separation or divorce. If you have children under the age of 18, whichever parent has primary responsibility for childcare is eligible to receive payments from the other parent - commonly referred to as child support.
The costs for determining the support required will depend on both yours and your former spouse’s financial situations, but it will also depend on how well you are able to negotiate what the terms are.
The three options include
1. Child Support Agreement
Here, both parties agree on the amount of child support to be paid in a written agreement that is registered with Services Australia. They will collect and distribute payments as per the agreement.
There are two forms of child support agreement:
- Binding agreement: this type of agreement allows you to determine the amount of support to be paid without an assessment from Services Australia.
- Limited agreement: this type of agreement requires you to have your child support contributions assessed by Services Australia.
2. Child Support Assessment
This is the most common type of child support arrangement and involves Services Australia assessing the contributions to be made by both parties. Assessment takes into account both party’s income and the amount of time each party cares for the child, and then calculates the amount each party owes to each other. To get more of an indication of the likely costs incurred in your specific situation, you can view Services Australia’s basic formula here.
3. Court Ordered Child Support
This is where an application is made to the courts for child support. A figure is determined by the Court based on incomes and percentage of care, and the other parent is required to pay the child support costs.
We answer more frequently asked questions about Child Support here.
Still Have Questions About The Cost To Divorce & Need Help?
If you are going through a divorce or have recently separated, Pullos Lawyers can help. Our team of family lawyers can help to simplify the process and minimise stress, by guiding you through the essential steps and advising you on the best course of action to take. Our three decades of experience makes us experts in finding our clients effective, future-focused strategies, and we can advise as to whether alternative dispute resolution is a suitable option for your situation, saving you time and money. We can also assist with a range of matters including De Facto & Same Sex Law, Spousal Maintenance, and property settlement. Please get in touch via email, or call us in our Gold Coast office on (07) 5526 3646, or our Brisbane office on (07) 3144 1641.