For more information about the current family law filing and event fees see Family law fees

For general federal law matters (information and application forms) see Exemptions for Paying Court Fees on the Federal Court of Australia website.

For more information about the current family law filing and event fees see Court fees

Select the relevant topic below for further information:

Who can apply for a family law fee reduction or exemption and how?

In some cases a reduced fee may be sought for divorce applications, or decree of nullity, or in respect of other family law fees, an exemption if you hold certain government concession cards or you can demonstrate financial hardship. 

See the Guidelines for reduced fee - divorce and decree of nullity application or Guidelines for exemption of court fees

In some cases a reduced fee may be sought for divorce applications, or decree of nullity, or in respect of other family law fees, an exemption if you hold certain government concession cards or you can demonstrate financial hardship.

See the Guidelines for reduced fee - divorce and decree of nullity application or Guidelines for exemption of court fees

If you fit one of the criteria below, you may be eligible for an exemption or reduction from court fees depending on the type of application.

You are entitled to apply for an exemption/reduction from court fees - general in a proceeding if:

  • you have been granted legal aid for that proceeding from a state/territory Legal Aid Office or an approved legal aid scheme or service (including an approved community legal centre - see the list of approved legal aid schemes and services)
  • you have been granted legal aid for that proceeding from a state/territory Legal Aid Office or an approved legal aid scheme or service (including an approved community legal centre - see the list of approved legal aid schemes and services)
  • you are the primary holder of a health care card, a pensioner concession card, a Commonwealth seniors health card or any other card certifying entitlement to Commonwealth health concessions (this does not include a dependent of a primary cardholder)
  • you are an inmate of a prison or otherwise legally detained in a public institutions
  • you are under 18 years of age, or
  • you are receiving youth allowance, Austudy payments or ABSTUDY benefits.

If you are eligible, you will need to complete an Application for exemption from fees – general or Application for reduction of payment of divorce or decree of nullity – general and provide supporting evidence (e.g. a photocopy of your health care card or Legal Aid letter). You will need to prove eligibility on each occasion a fee is payable.

If you are eligible, you will need to complete an Application for exemption from fees – general or Application for reduction of payment of divorce or decree of nullity – general and provide supporting evidence (e.g. a photocopy of your health care card or Legal Aid letter). You will need to prove eligibility on each occasion a fee is payable.

NOTE: If you are eligible for an exemption or reduction of fees general you can eFile your application using the Portal.

If you are not eligible for an exemption/reduction – general but your income, day-to-day living expenses, liabilities and assets are at such a level that payment of the full fee would cause you financial hardship you may still be eligible to apply for an exemption/reduction – financial hardship.

The courts, in consultation with other agencies, have drawn up a three part test to assist in assessing whether you are exempted. In deciding this, the registrar or authorised officer is required to consider your income, day-to-day living expenses, liabilities and assets.

A financial hardship exemption is only available to an individual and, even if an earlier fee has been exempted, must be considered on each occasion a fee is payable in any proceeding.

If you are seeking an exemption/reduction on the basis of financial hardship, you must complete an Application for exemption from fees – financial hardship or Application for reduction of payment of divorce or decree of nullity - financial hardship. If a legal aid organisation has granted you Legal Aid, or you are receiving assistance from a legal assistance provider, you must provide a letter or a photocopy of a letter from the organisation indicating the extent to which aid has been granted or assistance provided. See the list of approved legal aid schemes and services covered by this exemption.

A decision of a registrar or authorised officer not to exempt an individual from paying a fee on the grounds of financial hardship must be given in writing. This decision is reviewable by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

NOTE: If you are not eligible for an exemption or reduction of fees – general, but seek an exemption or reduction of fee due to financial hardship you cannot eFile.

You may apply for payment of court fees to be deferred. For approval for a fee to be deferred, you will need to file a Request for deferral of court fees (family law) and satisfy the Court that you meet certain criteria.

You may apply for payment of court fees to be deferred. For approval for a fee to be deferred, you will need to file a Request for deferral of court fees (family law) and satisfy the Court that you meet certain criteria.

In considering your application the Court will consider whether the filing of the document is so urgent that it overrides the requirement to pay the filing fee at the time of filing and your financial circumstances, and whether it would be oppressive or otherwise unreasonable to require immediate payment of the fee.

If your application for deferral is successful, the fee must be paid within 28 days from the date of the deferral, or any other period specified by a registrar or authorised officer.

NOTE: Where there is more than one applicant to a matter, all applicants must meet the requirements for the fee to be deferred.

Government regulations allow refunds family law fees if you have paid a full fee when you were entitled to an exemption or fee reduction under the regulations at the time the fee was paid. The regulations do not allow refunds for setting down fees.

The regulations allow refunds for hearing fees only if you have given written notice to the Court that the hearing is not to proceed or that the Court will be asked only to formalise the making of final orders on the day scheduled for the hearing (for example, when orders are made by consent). The regulations require you to give 10 business days notice.

For hearings called at short notice (that is when you are given less than 10 business days notice of the hearing) then only two business days notice is required if a hearing is not to proceed or will only be held to formalise the making of final orders. Again, you must give notice of the cancellation to the Court in writing.

The regulations allow for refunds of hearing fees if appearance at hearing was only to formalise the making of final orders, or the hearing does not proceed on the allocated day. You are not entitled to a refund if you only use part of a hearing day. 

A conciliation conference fee can be refunded if the proceeding is settled or discontinued before the conference is held.

If you believe you may be eligible for a refund of fees you must file a Request for refund of court fees.

If you believe you may be eligible for a refund of fees you must file a Request for refund of court fees.

Warning: Under the Criminal Code any person who knowingly makes an untrue representation or statement to obtain a benefit or advantage from the Commonwealth is guilty of an offence and, if found guilty, can be fined or imprisoned.

Filing fees are paid at the time of filing. Hearing and court event fees can be paid online (once you have received a statement with your PID number) via eservices.comcourts.gov.au

See Making payments to the court for more information on accepted payment methods.

See Making payments to the court for more information on accepted payment methods.

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