After we have mastered getting your divorce application underway and getting the Hearing date, problems can sometimes arise in having your spouse acknowledge service of the Divorce Paperwork. A Court must be satisfied that the ending of the marriage is brought to the attention of your spouse or every reasonable endeavour is undertaken to do so. Below are 4 possible ways that service is allowed:

Acknowledgment of Service by your spouse

Aside from an Application filed by the parties jointly, getting your spouse to acknowledge that the divorce application has been filed by signing an Acknowledgment of Service document is the simplest method of proving service. Usually what occurs is that we will send to your spouse the Divorce Application and a piece of paper called an Acknowledgment of Service which is signed by your spouse whereby they acknowledge having received the Application and a brochure about the divorce process. When we receive that document we then arrange for you to sign an Affidavit which confirms that the signature on the Acknowledgment is in fact that of your former spouse “ to the best of your knowledge” and this divorce paperwork is then lodged with the Court. Phew – job done!

Personal Service of Divorce Paperwork

On some occasions your spouse will not sign or is too lazy to sign and return the Acknowledgment of Service document. It then falls upon you to arrange personal service of the document upon them. Unfortunately, you are not able to do this yourself as the Court Rules do not allow this to occur.

Normally what occurs is that we will engage a process server on your behalf to physically hand the divorce paperwork to your spouse and then either complete an Affidavit saying they have done so or actually then have the spouse sign the Acknowledgment of Service on the spot which can then be used to confirm service has occurred.

The cost of a process server varies depending on your location and how many attempts at service they have to make. When this occurs, it is best to try and give us as much information as possible as to the working or living arrangements of your former spouse so that the best efforts can be made at the correct times to arrange service. If personal service is required we allow up to $250.00 towards these costs which unfortunately is payable by you as the Applicant. However, at least the job is done – phew!!

Substituted Service of Divorce Paperwork

Service on a third party can sometimes occur when you are not able to locate your former spouse, or it has proved ultimately fruitless in serving them personally. Using the word substituted means literally that, that the Application is actually then given to the third party and an Affidavit prepared stating why that third party is likely to bring the Application to your former spouse’s their attention. Usually substituted service will occur on a direct family member such as your spouse’s parent or even on some occasions a child of the relationship or your spouse’s previous relationship when it is known that they are having contact with them. Again, unfortunately, there is a cost involved in preparing the extra divorce paperwork and arranging service and we have allowed $100.00 for this cost. This is in addition to any arrangements for personal service which may be required on the third party.

Dispensation with Service

Dispensing with service is a fancy term which simply means that the Court accepts that despite your best efforts and knowledge that you cannot bring the Application to the attention of your former spouse. For example, you may have separated a number of years ago and simply have no idea where your spouse now resides aside from a State or a Town or City. Further, you would need to give evidence that there are no other people that you know who would be able to bring the Application to their attention under the Substituted Service heading above.

Minimising Cost

The team at Your Divorce try very hard to minimise the costs of legally ending the marriage by the only Online Divorce Application in Australia. Accordingly, if we can avoid personal service or one of the other steps above then we will endeavour to do so. We ask simply that you take your best steps to try and work out the location of your former spouse before we get the ball rolling in relation to filing your Application. In the 100s of divorces we have filed over the years we have met all of the above circumstances numerous times and are well qualified to assist you in sorting out this specific aspect of the Divorce Application. Of course, if you have any queries prior to filing your Application under the Get Started button then drop us a line at