Certifying an Australian divorce order
Your Australian divorce order is proof that you were divorced in Australia. Whether you were married in Australia or in another country, if you were born in Australia, you’re an Australian citizen, or you’ve been living in Australia for at least 12 months before applying, you’ve been separated for at least 12 months and 1 day, your marriage has broken down and there’s no reasonable likelihood that you’ll get back together, you can apply for a divorce in Australia.
Once granted a divorce by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (also, the Federal Circuit Court, Federal Magistrates Court and the Family Court), the Court will issue a divorce order. Since 2010, divorce orders have been issued by the Court as electronic documents.
What information is contained in an Australian divorce order?
A divorce order usually contains the following information:
- The names of the parties to the marriage.
- Which party applied for the divorce.
- When the parties were married.
- When the divorce hearing was heard.
- Confirmation that the court found the marriage to be proven.
- Confirmation that the court found a connection with Australia.
- Confirmation that ‘the marriage has broken down irretrievably’.
- Determining whether there are children of the marriage and whether there have been provisions for children of the marriage (if any).
- The date on which the divorce order becomes effective.
Why would I need to send an Australian divorce order to another country?
We help many people send Australian marriage certificates to other countries. Some of the most common reasons to do this are to:
- Prove that they’re divorced
- Assist with immigration applications
- Assist with various court proceedings or other legal action
- Assist with family law cases and legal action
- Assist with estate issues and inheritance disputes
Sending an Australian divorce order to another country
If you must send an Australian divorce order to another country, you may also need to have that divorce order stamped with an apostille from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade if the intended destination country is a member of the Apostille Convention. If the intended destination country isn’t a member of the Apostille Convention, you must arrange for DFAT to authenticate the divorce order before legalising it with the foreign representative office of the intended destination country.
Unless you provide sufficient proof of the validity of your divorce order to DFAT (and the requirements can vary), a certified copy of the divorce order must be notarised by a notary public before it can be stamped with an apostille or authenticated by DFAT.
Depending on the intended destination country, you may also need to have the Australian divorce order translated from English into the official language of the intended destination country. We usually recommend arranging for the translation to be done after all the legal processes have been completed (ie, legalisation) and after the documents have arrived in the intended destination country.
How do I obtain an Australian divorce order?
There are various ways to obtain a copy of your Australian divorce order. Visit the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia website (https://www.fcfcoa.gov.au/hdi/prove-divorce) for more information.
If you were divorced AFTER 13 February 2010, you can obtain official proof of divorce at no cost from the Commonwealth Courts Portal. This proof of divorce is a digital order with an electronic seal and signature and is the only proof of divorce provided by the courts.
If you were divorced BEFORE 13 February 2010 or it’s not your divorce, you should complete the online form to obtain a copy of the divorce order from the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. There will be a filing fee.
Notarising and attesting evidence of religious divorces granted in Australia
If your divorce was granted or recognised by a religious organisation in Australia, you may also need to provide proof or evidence of this in another country. Certificates or associated documents proving your divorce issue by religious organisations in Australia must be notarised before they will be accepted by DFAT for apostille or authentication, and before they can be sent to other countries around the world.
Notarising and attesting Australian divorce legislation
As required by the courts in some other countries, we’re also able to notarise a copy of the relevant divorce legislation in Australia (Part VI – Divorce and nullity of marriage from Family Law Act 1975) to confirm that it’s the law relating to divorce in Australia. Usually, notarising legislation is required by foreign courts if they want to confirm that the divorce granted in Australia was legally valid and therefore can be recognised in their own country.
Attesting, certifying and notarising copies of Australian divorce orders for use in another country is one of our core notary public services
What documents do we attest and notarise?
Some of the documents that we regularly attest and notarise for clients include:
- Power of attorney or Letter of Authority signed in Australia appointing someone to handle your property, business or personal financial matters on your behalf – as well as the Revocation of Power of Attorney. The power of attorney is probably the most frequently requested document to be signed, attested and notarised by our office.
- Property transfers and dealing documents signed in Australia for transacting property in other countries.
- Legal and court forms and documents signed in Australia for legal matters and court proceedings in other countries.
- Personal and commercial agreements or contracts signed in Australia for use in other countries. If you’re signing on behalf of a company, you may also need ‘company documents’ such as a certificate of good standing.
- Photo and personal identification documents such as passports or Australian drivers licences. Other forms of identification can also be attested and notarised, but generally other countries require photo identification in the absence of a national identity card system in Australia.
- Personal certificates from Australia such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, and Australian citizenship certificates. These certificates are generally issued by the relevant registry in each Australian state or by the Australian Government.
- Financial documents like bank statements issued by Australian banks, financial statements or tax-related documents from the Australian Tax Office.
- Court documents issued by Australian courts, such as divorce orders, Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.
- Education documents from Australian institutions, such as school reports, college degrees, university testamurs and transcripts. These documents must be verified with the issuing institution before they can be attested and notarised.
- Employment documents from Australian employers, like referral letters, references and recommendations, and payslips. These documents must be verified with the issuing employer before they can be attested and notarised.
- Company documents relating to Australian companies, like certificates of good standing, attested copies of certificates of incorporation, resolution and minutes, constitutions and memorandum of association etc. These documents must be obtained directly from ASIC for public information or produced by the director if they relate to corporate register documents.
- Criminal history documents issued by Australian police agencies like the Australian Federal Police or state police, or by private organisations accredited by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.
Usually, if documents must be certified, you must be able to provide the original hard copy document to us. Some documents, especially if those documents are only available as electronic documents, can be emailed to us directly by whoever issued the documents. Whenever possible, we will also verify documents with whoever issued the documents to complete the notarisation.
Do you have any questions regarding this article?
Whether you’re notarising a document for the first time or the hundreth time, the requirements, processes, and terms can be confusing and daunting – or just a pain and a hassle (especially if you need an apostille, or to authenticate or legalise as well). Don’t worry! We’re here to simplify it, explain it, and help you with what you need to achieve it.
Contact us or visit our Frequently Asked Questions for more information about our notary public services. We’ve also created a flowchart to help explain notarisation, apostille, authentication and legalisation.
So, what’s next?
Why choose Phang Legal for your notary public services?
We’re a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney 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. With our offices 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.