QLD Divorce - File under New Zealand or Australia?

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tony russell

26 June 2015
We are New Zealanders living in Australia. We were married in New Zealand in 2005. Now we have separated and want to divorce. Do we come under New Zealand law or Australian law. we separated 21/06/2014. So can I apply to Australian authorities for divorce or do I have to apply through New Zealand? You have to be separated 2 years in New Zealand and only 1 in Australia, so I would really like to become divorced quicker.

Sarah J

Well-Known Member
16 July 2014
Melbourne, Victoria
Hi Tony Russell,

You can apply for divorce in Australia if:
  • you intend to live in Australia permanently;
  • you have Australian citizenship; or
  • you ordinarily live in Australia and have done so for the past 12 months.
If you or your spouse satisfy any of the above, you can choose to either divorce in Australia or NZ. The laws between the two countries are fairly similar. If you choose to divorce in Australia, you will need to satisfy the court that:
  • you and your spouse has separated for more than 12 months; and
  • there is no real likelihood of the marriage reconciling.
If you choose to divorce in NZ, you will need to satisfy the test under NZ law. We cannot help you with that, you will need to contact a lawyer from NZ.

If you divorce here, your divorce decree will be recognised here. It will likely also be recognised in NZ, but it will need to satisfy NZ's internal requirements for recognising foreign divorce decrees. Given the similarity and closeness between the two countries, I envision this is easily done.