International Family Law matters in Australia – What You Need To Know

International Family Law Australia

International Family Law matters in Australia - What You Need To Know

17th March 2020

We live in an incredibly global, mobile society. Every year, more and more Australians move and work overseas, building up assets as well as families during their time abroad. However, as relationships that cross international borders increase, so too do the breakdowns of these relationships, and the complexity of the legal implications of that relationship breakdown. Navigating international family law issues in Australia is complex due to the variance in laws and rights of parties in different countries. At Pullos Family Lawyers, we are experts in international family law matters. We share an overview of some of the things you need to know with when it comes to International Family Law in Australia.

International Divorce

When you have married in one country and lived in another or a variety of countries, and separate while in a country different from the one you were married in, the issue of where to apply for a divorce can seem like a complex and daunting one.

If you are seeking a divorce and both you and your spouse live overseas, or if you live in Australia and your spouse lives overseas, the first thing you will need to establish is whether your marriage is legally recognised in Australia.

If you legally married in Australia, your wedding will be recognised. If you married overseas, a foreign marriage certificate that is valid in the country where the marriage took place will usually be sufficient to have your marriage recognised in Australia.

As per the Marriage Act 1961, exceptions to this rule include when the parties are under the age of 16, the parties are siblings or an ancestor or descendant of the other person, or if one or both parties are already validly married to another person.

If you or your spouse lives abroad, there are certain criteria that needs to be met if you wish to apply for divorce in Australia.

  • You must be able to establish that:
  • You regard Australia as your home with the intention of residing here indefinitely
  • You’re an Australian citizen by birth, descent or have obtained an Australian citizenship
  • You ordinarily live in Australia and have done so for at least 12 months prior to filing for divorce.

In addition to this, the normal criteria for applying for divorce in Australia must be met.

In Australia, we have a “no fault” divorce requirement, however this is not the case in every jurisdiction.

Also you need to be aware that in some countries, although not in Australia, a divorce application and applications in relation to your children and your finances all happen together. In other countries the divorce comes first.

You may in fact have a choice of countries in which you might be able to apply for a divorce order, or a property settlement or orders in relation to your children.

Dealing with international family law matters in Australia tend to be quite complex. Our specialist International Family Lawyers at Pullos Lawyers will be able to advise you on what options are available to you and which jurisdiction might be best for you to bring your International Family Law claims in.

International Property Settlement

In Australia, the courts will consider the following in determining the share of assets and properties.

  • The net asset pool
  • Any financial and non-financial contributions by either party
  • The future needs of either parties and adjustment
  • Whether the proposed settlement is just and equitable for all parties involved.

However, there are likely to be different considerations and different approaches to how assets should be distributed in different countries.

If you own property in another country, Australian courts do have a general power to make property adjustment orders in relation to these assets. However enforcement of such orders may be additional International Family Law issues to be advised on.

You will almost certainly have a choice of where to bring your property settlement claim and that choice, and which of them is best for you, will depend on many factors unique to your particular asset holdings, income and general circumstances.

At Pullos Lawyers, we have acted for clients with international property settlements in countries across the world, including the UK, USA, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Hong Kong, mainland China, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, New Zealand. We have connections with family lawyers in many countries across the world and work closely with them to determine which course of action is best for each client.

International Parenting Disputes

Parenting disputes are often some of the most complex and sensitive areas of International Family Law we at Pullos Lawyers deal with for our International Family law clients.

Matters we can assist with include the abduction of children, international child support, and obtaining access to children.

Many countries have signed the international treaty known as “The Hague Convention”. The Hague Convention is a multilateral treaty in force between Australia and a number of other countries, and is instrumental in assisting the recovery of children who have been taken from one country to another, where both countries are signatories to the convention.

Unfortunately, there are many countries who are not signatories to the Convention which gives more complexity to these cases.

Need Assistance Dealing With International Family Law Matters in Australia?

International Family Law matters need to be dealt with urgently. At Pullos Lawyers, we are experts in international law issues and have achieved positive outcomes for many clients, including the protection and recovery of children, and the retrieval and equitable distribution of international assets after a marriage dissolution. In addition, we also possess strong connections with overseas family lawyers. Get in touch with our lawyers today to find out more about your specific circumstances via email, or call us in our Gold Coast office on (07)5526 3646, or in Brisbane on (07) 3144 1641.

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