Ending Marriage and De Facto Relationships


In order for a marriage to be terminated, you will need to be granted a divorce of your marriage. Without a divorce, you and your spouse will remain married and you will be unable to re-marry.

To divorce your partner, you will (generally) need to meet the following pre-requisites:

  • One or both parties believe the relationship to be over, without the chance of a reconciliation;
  • You and your partner have been separated for at least 12 months; and
  • If there are any children of the marriage under the age of 18, proper arrangements must have been made for their care.

You can be separated from your partner while still living under the same roof, but you will need to provide substantial proof that you were separated so the court knows you are not trying to avoid the 12 month separation period.

If you have been married for less than 2 years you will need to attend counselling.

If you and your former partner have met these prerequisites, you can make an Application for a Divorce in the Family Court of Western Australia. One party can make the application or it can be a joint application.

For information and instructions on how to apply for a Divorce, see our tab above.

Once the Order is made, it will become final one month and one day later (for example, if the Order was made on 1 June 2016, the divorce will be made final on 2 July 2016). A copy of the Order will be made available to each party, for your records. Following that date, your marriage will be officially ended.

It is important to note that divorced couples will only have 12 months following the date of divorce to apply for a property settlement in the Family Court of Western Australia.

If you require any assistance in drafting your divorce application, or your rights and entitlements before and after divorce, you may want to consider getting legal advice. For instructions on completing your own divorce application, visit our Divorce Application tab above, or the Family Court of Western Australia website. If you are having trouble affording legal advice, see our Community Legal Services tab above.

Ending a De Facto Relationship

A de facto relationship ends when the couple separate. For more information about Separation, see our Relationship Breakdown and Separation tab above.

No documentation or registration is required to end your de facto relationship. If your de facto relationship was registered in another state, you may wish to consider removing your registration. Contact the respective Registry in order to find out what is required for you to remove that registration.

It is important to note that de facto couples will only have 24 months following the date of final separation to apply for a property settlement in the Family Court of Western Australia.


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