Ending a marriage, de facto relationship or civil partnership
You should always get legal help when you end a marriage, de facto relationship or civil partnership (previously called registered relationship)—especially when you have children and joint property.
The Federal Circuit Court of Australia looks after all divorces. The Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages does not register divorces.
Changing your name after divorce
If you have changed your family name to your spouse’s, you may choose to go back to your previous family name (or maiden name) after divorce. To change your family name, you will need to contact every organisation you have a personal account with to find out what evidence they need.
Married in Australia
If you were born in Australia and use your spouse's family name, you don't need to register your name change with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. To change back to your maiden name, you will need to contact every organisation you have a personal account with.
Organisations will require different proof of the name change, such as:
- an Australian birth certificate
- an Australian marriage certificate
- an Australian divorce document
- evidence of updated photo ID
- a combination of identity documents.
If you were born overseas, and legally changed your name to your spouse's, you will need to legally change your name again with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
If you were married overseas, and legally changed your name to your spouse's with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, you need to legally change your name again with them.
De facto relationships
To officially end your de facto relationship, you need to inform your ex-partner.
You do not have to:
- apply to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia
- fill in any forms
- receive a separation certificate.
If your marriage or civil partnership breaks up and you have children, then you will want to make sure you and your ex-partner have organised appropriate care for your children.
Money, property and possessions when your relationship ends
The court approaches dividing assets and debt the same way whether you are divorcing, ending your de facto relationship or civil partnership.
Read more about property and money after separation at the Australian Family Law Court website.
End a civil partnership
Your civil partnership (previously called registered relationship) ends if you or your partner passes away, marries or applies to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages to end the partnership.
You and your ex-partner can apply individually or together to end the civil partnership.
Withdraw my application to end a civil partnership
You can withdraw your application within 90 days of lodging it.