I’ve written before about how easy it is for parties to get a copy of their divorce order if they were divorced in Australia. I’ve also written about the changes in the 2018 Guidelines that allow us to accept a stat dec where evidence of a divorce granted overseas is impossible to obtain. This question is a bit along those lines. Shamini asks:

I have a groom who was married in Japan (he’s Australian). He has been trying to get a copy of his divorce certificate but his ex in Japan isn’t helping. He’s still trying but asked if it doesn’t get one before the wedding date can he sign a stat Dec? I know he’s trying with the ex and I’ve advised to go to the Japanese embassy but what happens if by the wedding he still can’t get one. Can he do a stat dec advising he’s been to the embassy etc?

The answer here is basically no; if he can’t get a copy of his divorce certificate from Japan by the date of the wedding, he can’t get married on that date.

The new guidance around accepting stat decs in place of divorce certificates is only really a last resort option where it is IMPOSSIBLE to get a copy of the divorce certificate, for example if the building that holds the records has been destroyed in a war, or if the party is a refugee and is no longer able to contact the government that issued the divorce. It’s really not for people who can’t get a copy of their divorce order because it’s going to take too long or cost money or whatever else.

I can’t see any reason why it would be IMPOSSIBLE for a person who was divorced in Japan to not be able to get a copy of their divorce certificate. It may take some time, and it may cost some money, but none of that is a reason to not have to get one. I know this groom is working hard to get his divorce order, so it should be fine, but this is reminder to not ever let someone talk you out of following your legal obligations!