When someone gets divorced they are sent a divorce certificate (also called a divorce order). That certificate may take a different format depending on when it was issued, but since February 2010 divorce orders have been issued electronically.

Sometimes (often) by the time they come to remarry, a party has misplaced or lost their divorce order, but of course you can’t marry them without seeing it.

So how do they get a new one?

If they were divorced in Australia, it’s super simple. They go to this page on the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia website and follow the instructions. There are different sets of instructions based on where and when they got divorced, but in a nutshell:

  • if they were divorced anywhere other than Western Australia before 13 February 2010, they complete an online application form and pay $30, and a printed copy of the proof of divorce will be posted to them.
  • if they were divorced anywhere other than Western Australia after 13 February 2010, they create an account and download their electronic certificate directly from the Commonwealth Courts Portal at no charge.
  • if they were divorced in Western Australia at any time they need to contact the Family Court of Western Australia to obtain proof of their divorce.

Easy peasy! There are literally no excuses for a person divorced in Australia not to show you their divorce order.

If a party was divorced outside Australia, they need to contact the relevant court or authority in the country where the divorce was granted, to obtain proof of their divorce.

Legal stuff

The requirement for an authorised celebrant to see proof of the termination of a previous marriage is outlined at section 42(10) of the Marriage Act 1961, and further discussed on pages 48 to 50 of the Guidelines on the Marriage Act 1961 for Marriage Celebrants 2018. Page 49 of the Guidelines contains a very handy table outlining the evidence of divorce according to when it was granted.