Family Law

International Family Law

Get international family law advice for your circumstances

Legal issues can become highly complicated when there is separation or divorce between people living in different countries, or where there are shared assets located outside of Australia. Disputes between these families can become even more challenging when there are children involved.

If you are considering divorce and there are any international aspects of your situation, it's important you speak to a lawyer for the best advice.

International Child Support

You may be eligible to receive, or obliged to pay, child support if:

  • The child is an Australian Citizen and was present in Australia on the day of the application
  • The liable parent was in Australia when the application was made
  • The applicant parent was in Australia when the application was made

All of these criteria must be met for the Australian Child Support Agency to have jurisdiction.

Child Abduction and the Hague Convention

Australia is a signatory of the Hague Convention. If a child is removed from a Hague Convention country and taken to another Hague Convention country by a parent, the other parent can make an application to have the child returned. Applications must be made within 12 months of a child being taken, so it is important to act quickly.

If the child is taken to a country that is not a signatory of the Hague Convention, an application must be made to the court for custody or residency in that foreign country, and the proceedings will generally take place in that country and follow their laws.

To prevent child abduction, there are some practical steps that can be taken, which include:

  • Obtaining a parenting order that restricts either parent moving the child out of Australia and places the child on the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Airport Watch List.
  • Restricting which countries can issue a passport for the child
  • Thinking carefully before consenting to an ex-spouse removing the child from Australia

International family law

International family law has many unique factors you will need to consider, such as:

  • Different countries will have different enforcement powers regarding property and superannuation
  • The divorce process can be very long in some countries, with some European countries taking up to 5 years to finalise a divorce
  • Some countries do not have the power to grant certain protective orders
  • Many countries have a gender bias that could result in injustice for one party, and could mean same sex couples do not have the same rights
  • Some countries have a law stating that the first person to file proceedings decides which court will deal with the matter

International family law is a highly complex matter. To find out more about your rights and obligations, speak to our lawyers to get advice regarding your particular circumstances.

Get tailored advice for your circumstances

Make sure you get the right advice about international family law. Call us on (02) 8843 1343 or send a message via our contact page.