For records of judicial separations see Divorce Records.
Historically if a man deserted his wife and/or his children, he was committing a criminal offence. His details may have been published in police gazettes. See Police Gazettes. If he was apprehended, he would be charged and have to face a court. See Courts. This may have been reported in the newspapers. See Newspapers, Magazines and Journals.
If a wife left her husband, the husband may have put a legal notice in a newspaper saying that he was not responsible for her debts. See Newspapers, Magazines and Journals.
Divorce records start in 1861 in Victoria. It should be noted that just because there was a divorce filing the divorce actually took place; some records relate to judicial separations and other cases were withdrawn or otherwise settled before the court hearing.
For post divorce financial settlements up to 1976 see Supreme Court of Victoria.
PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - DIVORCE CASE FILE NUMBER INDEX
Divorce records dating from 1861 and created more than 75 years ago can be seen at Public Record Office Victoria. Not all early divorce records have survived; some in the early 1890s have not. A Divorce Case File Number Index is online on the Public Record Office Victoria website. This includes Melbourne Divorce Records 1861-1942, Melbourne Divorce Records 1943-1946 and Ballarat Divorce Records 1890-1942.
BALLARAT AND DISTRICT GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY - BALLARAT DIVORCE INDEX 1890-1924
ARCHIVAL ACCESS VICTORIA - VICTORIAN DIVORCE INDEX 1939-1942
The information in this database is taken from Index to Divorce Cause Books (VPRS 5335 P4) at Public Record Office Victoria.
ANCESTRY - VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA, DIVORCE RECORDS 1860-1940 (VPRS 283 AND 552)
Divorce records sourced from Public Record Office Victoria. They are searchable and may be browsed.
FINDMYPAST - VICTORIA DIVORCE CAUSE BOOKS 1861-1938
The divorce cause books include a petitioner's name and a respondent's name, as well as the case file number. They are searchable.
SUPREME COURT OF VICTORIA - DIVORCE RECORDS -1976
Divorce records less than 75 years old and up to 1976 can be obtained using the Supreme Court of Victoria website; these are subject to access restrictions which are detailed on the website.
FAMILY COURT OF AUSTRALIA - DIVORCE RECORDS 1976-PRESENT
This deals with marriages, divorces and family law matters. The Family Court may hear appeals from the Federal Circuit Court on family law matters. Appeals from the Family Court are heard by the Full Court of the Family Court. Divorce records from 1976 to the present can be obtained using the Family Court of Australia website.
AUSTRALASIAN LEGAL INFORMATION INSTITUTE - FAMILY COURT OF AUSTRALIA 1976-PRESENT
Articles about divorces can be seen in newspapers. Divorce was quite rare in the 19th and early 20th century and ordinary people getting divorces up to the 1920s were reported in detail. Names of divorcing couples may also be seen in court hearing lists. See Newspapers, Magazines and Journals.