Family Law FAQs: How Much Does It Cost to Get Divorced in Australia?


The process of divorce is often accompanied by concerns about the financial impact.

One of the most common questions we receive at Clarity Lawyers is about the cost of divorce in Australia. It’s a key consideration for anyone looking to understand the legal process and plan for their future.

So, how much does a divorce cost in Australia?

What do you need to pay for when you get divorced?

When you file for divorce in Australia, the primary expenses include the divorce application fee and any legal fees if you are obtaining legal advice or representation.

The divorce application fee is a fixed government filing fee, which you may have to pay unless you are eligible for a reduced fee due to financial hardship. At the time of writing (April 2024) the divorce filing fee is $1060 but you can find the most up to date fee information here.

Legal fees can vary depending on the complexity of your case, the level of legal service you require and the divorce lawyer cost and fee structure (fixed fees vs hourly rates).

While everyone’s situation is unique, consider the example of Alice and Sam. Alice and Sam have amicably decided to divorce after concluding that their marriage had reached its end. They opted for a joint application for divorce, which allowed them to share the cost of the government filing fee. They also sought initial legal advice to understand their financial and parenting arrangements, which provided them with the clarity needed to proceed. Their cooperative approach helped them limit the costs involved to just the filing fee and the cost for initial legal consultation, showcasing an amicable and cost-effective divorce process.

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What factors can impact the cost?

The cost of divorce can escalate if you and your ex-partner disagree on key issues like property settlement, child custody arrangements, or spousal maintenance.

In these cases, additional costs such as mediation fees, court fees, and potentially higher legal fees can be expected.

The type of divorce lawyer you choose, whether they charge a fixed fee or an hourly rate, and how much of your divorce they are handling, can also affect the overall cost.

Who pays for these costs?

Generally, each party is responsible for paying their own legal fees. However, the court may order one party to pay the other’s costs in certain circumstances, particularly if one party is experiencing financial hardship or if there has been unreasonable conduct by one party.


How can I reduce my costs?

To minimise expenses, consider negotiation or mediation before going to court, as court proceedings can be costly. Opting for a joint application for divorce with your ex-partner can also reduce filing fees. Always ask your family lawyer if they offer a fixed fee service or legal fee loans, which can help manage the costs more predictably.

As an example, consider Rachel and Alex, who found themselves in a complex situation. They disagreed over property distribution and parenting arrangements and unable to reach an agreement on their own, they turned to mediation. The mediation process, while adding to their overall costs, remained a more affordable alternative to the financial and emotional toll of court proceedings. Through several mediation sessions, they were able to come to an agreement, highlighting how disputes can be resolved with professional help, avoiding the higher costs and stress of litigation.

Not only does this approach help to reduce costs but it also helps both parties to retain a level of control in how the matter will be resolved instead of leaving their fate in the hands of the court.

How we can help

If the financial side of divorce is daunting, or you simply need guidance on any family law matter, seeking legal advice from our family lawyers here at Clarity Lawyers will help you make informed decisions. We’re here to help you understand the costs and processes of divorce and other family law matters. Contact us today to start the conversation about your needs and how we can assist in making your divorce as smooth and cost-effective as possible.

We’re based in Newcastle and Maitland but our services are available Australia-wide. Call us on (02) 4023 5553 or book your consultation online here.

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Rli Samantha@2x
Samantha Miller

Samantha has been a lawyer since 2001 having followed in the steps of her father, grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather. No one can say she didn’t know what she was getting into!

Initially admitted in 2001 as a solicitor in NSW and Australia, Samantha moved to the UK where she was admitted as a solicitor in England and Wales in 2002. After working in several different areas of the law in large London firms, she determined that family law was her calling and hasn’t looked back.


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