Fiji – Signing your Divorce Application in Australia
Applying for divorce in Fiji
If you live in Australia, but you’re applying for divorce in Fiji, you must sign the divorce application in front of a notary public. The notary public will verify your identity, witness your signature and notarise your divorce application. Whether you’re the applicant or respondent, notarisation confirms that you’re the person who signed the application.
What happens when you notarise your Fiji divorce application?
Notarising your divorce application generally requires you to sign it in front of a notary public. This means:
- You must visit the notary public with your completed, but not signed, divorce application.
- You must be able to identify yourself, generally by producing your passport or other valid photo identification.
- The notary public will verify your identity (as being one of the parties in the divorce application).
- You must sign your divorce application in front of the notary public.
- The notary public will witness you sign your divorce application.
- The notary public will sign and apply a notary seal to your divorce application.
Can you sign your Fiji divorce application in front of anyone?
The divorce application states:
PLEASE DO NOT COMPLETE THIS PART OF THE FORM UNTIL YOU ARE WITH A PERSON WHO IS LEGALLY ABLE TO WITNESS YOUR SIGNATURE – PLEASE DO NOT SIGN UNLESS IT IS AT LEAST 12 MONTHS SINCE THE DATE YOU SEPARATED.
You must complete the following affidavit. You must sign it in the presence of a Justice of the Peace, notary public or lawyer. The person witnessing the affidavit will fill in the place and date.
The witnessing part has three checkboxes for ‘Justice of the Peace/Commissioner for Oaths’, ‘Notary’ and ‘Lawyer’. This suggests that your witness must be either of these authorised persons. However, as these instructions were specifically intended for people signing divorce applications in Fiji, they may not be completely relevant to you if you live in Australia. In Australia, you should sign your divorce application for Fiji in front of a notary public.
What’s the difference between a notary public and a lawyer?
If you’re not familiar with what a notary public is or what a notary public does, maybe this part will help you. In Australia, a notary public is a senior lawyer with further qualifications. Their qualifications allow them to perform the role and duties of a notary public. While a notary is qualified to witness or certify documents for use in Australia, a notary public is specifically tasked with notarising documents for use in other countries. If you’re signing the divorce application (or any other legal document) intended to be used in Fiji, then you’ll need a notary public.
While all notaries in Australia must be lawyers, not every lawyer is or must be a notary. A lawyer is a term used to describe anyone who practises law. In Australia, this generally covers two specific roles – a ‘solicitor’ and a ‘barrister’. In most cases, barristers only focus on or specialise in court-related legal work. On other other hand, solicitors generally handle everything else (including court-related legal work).
You should check with your lawyer in Fiji whether signing your divorce application or other legal documents in front of a lawyer in Australia will be acceptable in Fiji. If not, then it’s safer to sign in front of a notary public.
What’s the difference between a justice of the peace and a commissioner of oaths?
In New South Wales, a justice of the peace is a volunteer appointed by the Governor of New South Wales. A justice of the peace can witness a person making a statutory declaration or affidavit. They can also certify copies of original documents. Justices of the peace come from all sections of the community and are available across New South Wales.
Generally, a justice of the peace will only be recognised in Australia but not in other countries. If you’re signing a Fiji divorce application or other legal documents intended for Fiji, you shouldn’t use a justice of the peace. Most justices of the peace know that they should refer you to a notary public. The benefit of using a justice of the peace (if your lawyer in Fiji tells you that it will be acceptable) is that they’re a free service!
A commissioner of oaths is also authorised to take oaths, affirmations and declarations – similar to a justice of the peace. However, the role of a commissioner of oaths doesn’t exist in New South Wales. If you’ve been asked to sign a document in front of a commissioner of oaths, it usually means that it will be used in a different state or country. This also means it should really be signed in front of a notary public.
There are commissioners of oaths in Fiji, and if you were signing your divorce application in Fiji, then you would sign in front of a commissioner of oaths appointed in Fiji. Since you’re in Australia, then you should sign your divorce application in front of a notary public.
Make an appointment to notarise your divorce application
As a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney, we assist many people with notarising divorce applications for Fiji. The process is simple. Once you’ve received the documents from your lawyer in Fiji, simply call our office to make an appointment. An appointment isn’t necessary, but it’s highly recommended.
Due to our high volume of enquiries and back-to-back appointments, we might not be able to assist you at the time you visit us if you don’t make an appointment. You’ll need to bring photo identification when you visit us. Usually, this would be your passport or Australian driver licence. For most divorce applications, we recommend using your passport since we note your photo identification details when you notarise your document.
Do you have any questions?
Sending documents from Australia to other countries can be complicated. We make it simple.
If your documents must be stamped with an apostille or authenticated and then legalised, we can help with that too. We've also created a flowchart to explain the process.
So, what's next?
Why choose Phang Legal for your notary public services?
We're a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney. We're known for our experience and expertise in notarising documents for other countries, our low-cost fixed fees and service offering, and our availability to help on short notice.
Our office is conveniently located in Parramatta, the geographic centre of the Sydney metropolitan area. We help clients from across Sydney and beyond with personal, professional and timely notary public services.
This website is maintained by Phang Legal, a boutique law firm in Parramatta and a leading provider of quality notary public services to satisfied clients across Sydney.
Ern Phang is a director of Phang Legal and a notary public (since 2005). Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public and the issues faced by his clients in sending documents to other countries.