A simple, free legal guide to family court fees in Australia

The financial and emotional burden of a day in family court can be heavy. Our families, our partners, and our children – these things matter, and accounting for court fees on top of this can be an added stress in an already difficult situation. 

Knowing what fees you are likely to incur in a family law matter, who pays them, how you pay them, and whether you are eligible for a reduced fee helps you know what to expect from your day in court and how much you can be expected to pay. 

The Family Court is called the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. The Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court merged into one court in late 2021, but this court consists of two divisions. Division 1 consists of the judges who were formally of the Family Court. Division 2 consists of the Judges who were formally of the Federal Circuit Court. Which division your family law matter is being heard in will affect your court fees. See the below tables for some of the most common filing and court event fees.

Family court filing fees



Application for divorce


Application for divorce – reduced fee^


Application for consent orders


Application as to validity of Marriage, Divorce, Annulment


Application for decree as to nullity


Application for decree as to nullity – reduced fee^


Initiating Application (Parenting OR Financial, Final only)


Initiating Application (Parenting OR Financial, Final AND Interim)


Initiating Application (Parenting AND Financial, Final only)


Initiating Application (Parenting AND Financial, Final AND Interim)


Response to initiating application (Final)


Notice of appeal or an application for leave to appeal


Interim order application/Application in a proceeding (Parenting AND/OR Financial)


Issue subpoena


Application under the Trans Tasman Proceedings Act 2010


Filing an application to register a New Zealand judgment



Court event fees

Division 1

Division 2

Setting down for hearing fee (defended matter) (This fee is not refundable)



Daily hearing fee (for each hearing day, excluding the first hearing day)



Conciliation conference




The court fees are set by the Federal Government and increased annually on the 1st of July.


Two sets of hands using a computer and filing family court fees in Australia

Who pays for family court costs?

Family Court fees, as a rule, are paid for by whomever the service is provided. For example, a filing fee should be paid for by whoever the document is being filed for (Family Law (Fees) Regulation 2012 (Cth) reg 2.03). Any party in your family law matter may pay the fee if they choose to, and once it is paid, the court does not require the other party to pay the court the fee. A judge may also order that any party pay the fee or part of the fee. It should be noted that this is a general guide and that if you have any further questions regarding who is required to pay family court costs, you can contact our friendly staff to arrange a consultation. 

When must you make payment by for family court fees?

Fees at the family court must be paid for before the service is provided. 

For filing a document:

The fee must be paid before the document is filed. 

For a setting down fee:

  • The fee must be paid no later than 28 days before the hearing; or 
  • If the hearing is within 28 days from when you set the hearing date, the fee must be paid at the time approved by the relevant registrar.

For a Hearing fee:

  • The fee must be paid by the close of business two days before the hearing; or
  • In the case where the hearing date is closer than two days away from the day the hearing is fixed, then no later than 9:30 am on the day of the hearing. 

For a conciliation conference:

  • The fee must be paid no later than 28 days before the conference; or 
  • If the conference is within 28 days from when you set the hearing date, the fee must be paid before the conference commences.

Payment of fees may be deferred by registrars or relevant officers of the court. If a fee is not paid by the set date, then another person may pay the fee. Otherwise, the judge or registrar may decide to cancel your court date. The full rules for when a fee must be paid by in the family courts are contained in the Family Law (Fees) Regulation 2012.

How to pay family court fees?

Family court fees can be paid for using your EFTPOS, debit, or credit card via the court registries. If you do not have one of these cards, many stores sell pre-paid debit cards that you can use for payment. You can also pay for your court fees by mail. To make payments that accompany mailed applications or requests, you will have to fill in the Credit Card Payment Form. This form is available on the court website. 

Are family court legal fees tax deductible?

Family court fees are considered private in nature and, therefore, not tax deductible. 

Am I eligible for reduced or waived fees?

You may be exempted from paying some of these court fees or having the fees reduced. You do not have to pay these court fees if you are using legal aid, are the holder of a government concession card, are a minor, are imprisoned or detained, or are receiving youth allowance. The court may also exempt you from court fees for financial hardship. However, you cannot get an exemption for fees relating to filing for a divorce or nullifying your marriage. Instead, these fees may be reduced significantly – down to $330 for divorce applications and $465 for nullity.

In conclusion:

This article covers family court fees and does not apply to lawyers’ fees, spousal maintenance, child support, or any other cost that could be involved in your family law matter. By gaining a better understanding of court fees in family law, you can take steps to plan for and manage their legal expenses more effectively. 

To learn more about court fees, lawyers’ fees, the family law system, and the trends that are shaping society and family law, see Australian Family Lawyers’ Australian Relationships: Love, Marriage, and Divorce in a Modern Nation. 

The Australian Relationships Report was released in March of 2023 and uses the most recent statistical data and research to give Australians the Family Lawyers’ insight into family law issues. 

Download the report here.

If you’d like to understand the Family Court fees or have any questions about yours, call our friendly team directly or request a call back via the form below.

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