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Divorce factsheet 4 – How to use the Commonwealth Courts Portal

This factsheet is the fourth of five factsheets to help you with your divorce. This factsheet explains how to apply for a divorce online using the Commonwealth Courts Portal.

What is the Commonwealth Courts Portal?

The Commonwealth Courts Portal is a secure online system that allows you to access information about cases in the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia.

If you are applying for a divorce, you can use the Commonwealth Courts Portal to:

  • start a new application for divorce
  • file your application for divorce and other documents
  • view and download documents that you and the other party have filed
  • view future court dates
  • view and download court orders
  • view and download your Divorce Order.

To access the Commonwealth Courts Portal, you will first need to register using an email address.

How do I register for the Commonwealth Courts Portal?

Go to www.comcourts.gov.au and click on Register now. You will need an email address to register.

If you have an existing case, you can link your court file using your:

  • file number
  • client number.

If you do not know your file number or client number, email registerme@comcourts.gov.au with your:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • telephone number, and
  • name of the other party.

The court will verify your identity and link your court file for you in the Commonwealth Courts Portal.

For more information, watch the YouTube video ‘eFiling your family law matter in the Commonwealth Courts Portal’ at www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jNC-VKgNPA&feature=youtu.be

How do I start a new application for divorce?

  1. Log on to the Commonwealth Courts Portal with your username and password.
  2. Select Start a new file. Click Confirm.
  3. Select Application for Divorce and Federal Circuit Court of Australia. Then click Continue.
  4. Type in a name and description for the application. Click Create and then OK.
  5. Complete Parts A to F of the application. You can complete and save parts in any order. You can save and stop filling out the application and log out of the portal at any time. Information you have entered will be saved for 90 days.
  6. After you complete all the parts of the application, you can click Print preview to create a draft copy of the application. This allows you to check your application before locking it (see Step 10).
  7. Upload your Supporting Documents:
    1. marriage certificate (if your marriage certificate is not in English, you will need to upload a certified translation of your marriage certificate)
    2. proof of citizenship or residency in Australia for the past 12 months (eg your citizenship certificate or visa paperwork)
    3. affidavit (if required) (eg if your current name is different to your name on the marriage certificate or you and your spouse were separated under the same roof).
  8. Check your application and make sure all the information is correct. Click Lock and continue. You will not be able to make any changes to your application after you lock it.
  9. Print your application and the affidavit for eFiling Application (Divorce). You must sign the affidavit for eFiling Application (Divorce) in front of a Justice of the Peace (JP) or a lawyer.

    If you are making a joint application, you and your spouse must both sign the affidavit for eFiling Application (Divorce) in front of a JP or lawyer but you do not have to do this at the same time, or with the same JP or lawyer.

  10. Scan and upload the affidavit for eFiling Application (Divorce) on the portal. See section below under heading, ‘How to e-file documents on the Commonwealth Courts Portal’.

  11. Print the ‘Marriage Families and Separation’ brochure and select the check box.

  12. Select a location for the divorce hearing. If you are making a joint application, you do not have to attend the divorce hearing.

  13. Select payment option then submit application.

  14. After successful payment, you will be asked to select a date and time for the divorce hearing.

  15. If you are making a sole application, print the documents for service. If you are making a joint application, print the documents for your own records.

How do I e-file documents on the Commonwealth Courts Portal?

  1. Scan each document and save in a place where you will be able to find them easily.
  2. Log on to the portal using your username and password. Select Available Files. Select your file number next to starto access the court file.
  3. Under Existing Applications select plus at the appropriate application.
  4. Select Add Document.
  5. Go to the drop-down menu at Document Type and select the appropriate document type.

Select your name to choose who the document is filed on behalf of.

Click Choose File, select the document from where you had saved it at Step 1. This document must be:

  • in PDF format
  • under 10 Mb
  • not more than 100 pages (including attachments).

Click Upload.

How do I view or download documents on the Commonwealth Courts Portal?

  1. Log on to the Portal using your username and password. Select Available Files. Select your file number next to starto access the court file.
  2. Under Existing Applications select plus at the appropriate application.
  3. Go to Documents Filed and select  pdf icon. The document will open in PDF format. You can choose to save and/or print the documents.

How do I view future court dates?

  1. Log on to the portal using your username and password. Select Available Files. Select your file number next to starto access the court file.
  2. Under Existing Applications select  plus at the appropriate application
  3. Go to Court Events and Orders.You will be able to see the date, time, location, the name of the Registrar or Judge and the reason for the court date. You can see future and past court dates.

How do I view or download court orders?

  1. Log on to the portal using your username and password. Select Available Files. Select your file number next to starto access the court file.
  2. Under Existing Applications select  plus at the appropriate application
  3. Under Court Events and Orders select View Orders in the right-hand column against the appropriate court date. The Orders will open in PDF format. You can choose to save and/or print the Orders.

Need help with the Commonwealth Courts Portal?

If you are having difficulty using the Portal, contact the Family Law National Enquiry Centre (NEC) on  1300 352 000 or +61 2 8892 8578 (if you are overseas).

You can also contact the NEC using LiveChat. livechat logo

Need help?

1. Legal Aid NSW can give you free help with your divorce. You can:

  • come to a class to get information about your divorce application, or
  • contact a lawyer.

For more information see:

2. LawAccess NSW is a telephone helpline that gives free legal information, referrals to other services and legal advice in some cases. Call 1300 888 529 or visit  www.lawaccess.nsw.gov.au

3. The court can give you information about their forms, the online filing system, and their procedures. Contact their National Enquiry Centre or call 1300 352 000.

See www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au for more information about divorce, and details about your nearest court registry.

4. Public libraries have computers and scanners. You will need to make an appointment.
See www.nswnet.net/libraries

5. Factsheets in this series

Divorce factsheet 1 – Applying for divorce

Divorce factsheet 2 – Serving your divorce documents

Divorce factsheet 3 – Separation under the same roof

Divorce factsheet 4 – How to use the Commonwealth Courts Portal

Divorce factsheet 5 – Serving divorce documents when your spouse is in prison

This factsheet is intended as a general guide to the law. Do not rely on this information as legal advice. We recommend you talk to a lawyer about your situation. This information is correct at the time of writing; however, it may change. For more information contact LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 529.

© Legal Aid NSW June 2019