How Do I Get A Divorce When One Party Is Overseas?

Applying for a divorce can be quite simple if both parties agree to the divorce and are available to sign necessary documents. When there is a dispute about the divorce or when one party is overseas, it can complicate matters but it is possible to apply for divorce without lawyer if you know the steps to take. Read on below for some information about how to apply for a divorce when your partner is overseas.

1. Locate the other party
The first step is to locate the other party overseas. Once the divorce application is prepared (see this link for the DIY Divorce Kit from the court website), you need to be able to serve the other person. If you both agree on the divorce, you can lodge a joint application. You will need to prepare the application and post it to the other party so that they can sign the application with you. You will then need to serve it at court.

If the other person won't sign a joint application, you will need to serve them with the sole application. If you are sure that they will sign the acknowledgement of service, you can just post the documents to them overseas. If you don't think that they will sign the acknowledgment, you will need to serve them in person. You can do this through someone you know or through a process server.

2. If you can't locate the other party
You still need to serve them with the paperwork, even if they are overseas. If you know a third party who can get in contact with your ex-partner, you can serve the divorce application through them. If you don't know anyone who is contact with them, you may be able to serve them through an email address. This is called substituted service. You need to apply to the court for an order for substituted service to be able to serve them in this way.

If there is no way to serve the other person overseas with the divorce application, you can apply to the court for an order dispensing with service. To do this you need to prove that you have tried to locate them and swear an affidavit about the steps you have taken and your last contact with them so you don't have to serve the paperwork.

See this link for the application in a case for substituted service.

3. Attending court
If you have a joint application for divorce, then you do not have to attend court. The court will allocate a court date and hear your application in your absence. As long as you have prepared the documents correctly, the court will grant your divorce decree. If you have been unable to get the other party to sign the application or acknowledge of service, you will need to attend court for the application for substituted service or dispensing with service. You will then need to be guided by the judge as to whether you need to attend court again.

While you can get a divorce without a lawyer, it can sometimes be little more complicated than that. If you plan on sorting out your divorce on your own, you might want to make an appointment with a family lawyer to get some guidance about what you need to do and ensure that you have receive appropriate legal advice before finalising your divorce.

Contact us for more information or to book a free legal advice session.

This information does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with a lawyer to obtain independent legal advice relevant to your situation.

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