Counting the cost of a marriage break-up

Getting a divorce doesn’t need to break the bank, a reader is told. 


What are the costs of getting a divorce? I have been separated from my wife for more than a year but have no desire to marry again. I wonder if it’s best to stay as we are until there’s a good reason to sever the legal marital agreement and make it official. I expect it’s the cheapest option.

We don’t have any children, if that’s relevant.


If you and your wife agree on the nature of your financial separation then the cost of divorce can be as low as a court filing fee of a few hundred dollars.

If you need assistance with this try mediation through an agency such as Relationships Australia SA. You will be charged per hour according to your income and may need a few sessions to finalise matters.

If a lawyer makes your agreement legally binding you could be charged a few thousand dollars to have this drafted and lodged with the court.

There are “do it yourself” options through the Federal Court of Australia and Family Court, which enable you to lodge agreements by consent for the cost of a filing fee. Check the court website for details.

This latter option is not recommended where any disagreements or complications exist. Even so it is still wise to get legal advice about the implications of not attending to a financial separation as there are time limitations.

Free general legal advice can be obtained through the Legal Services Commission ( or Community Legal Centres.

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Fill out the form below or send questions to Family Forum, The Advertiser, 31 Waymouth St, Adelaide 5000.

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Relationships Australia (SA) appoints panels of general practitioners, medical specialists, lawyers, therapeutic and financial counsellors to discuss each letter before the appropriate professional answers it.