International Family & Relationship Law
Family & Relationship Law 16 December 2020

International Family & Relationship Law

Family law matters concerning international elements are becoming increasingly common.   Families who are geographically separated face unique and difficult challenges.  In such matters, inter-jurisdictional family law issues may arise in relation to financial and property disputes, parenting arrangements and international parental child abduction, international child support and spousal maintenance, or a combination of each.

Our lawyers at Coulter Legal are able to provide expert and strategic advice to client’s about their rights in Australia and overseas.

International Child Abduction

A situation may arise where a parent or party with parental responsibility of a child flees Australia without the consent of the other parent or a person with parental responsibility of the child.   Should a situation occur where a child has been abducted to an overseas country, it is important that steps are taken to ensure the delicate and safe return of the child.

Australia is a signatory to the Hague Convention on Child Abduction, and therefore, is able to rely on this multilateral treaty in seeking the child’s return to their home country.  This is usually conducted via an application by the Australian Central Authority and its receipt and further communication with the Central Authority in the other country, or via an Australian or overseas Court making an order and the recognition of the order in the opposing country under the Hague Convention.

Cross-border parenting arrangements and relocation

A parent may be required to relocate following the breakdown of a relationship.  This will present various challenges depending on a whole range of issues including the age or ages of the children, what their current regime or routine is and the nature of the parenting arrangements that are in place prior to the proposed relocation, including who the child lives with and what time they spend with the non-resident parent.  We regularly act for client’s who are faced with these unique and difficult challenges, both in Australia and overseas.

The division of property and finances

Given the global nature of enterprise and employment, separating couples are often faced with navigating the situation of resolving the division of their property and finances while being in two different locations, or having property and finances located in different jurisdictions, or a combination of both.  This may present challenges in terms of the valuation or realisation of property, or the tax consequences of distributing or transferring property from one jurisdiction to another under a family law property settlement.  Further, parties must also consider whether the Orders made in a particular jurisdiction, for example in Australia or in an overseas jurisdiction such as the United States, can be enforced.

It is imperative that parties seek specialised expert advice when contemplating a cross-border division of property.  We act for parties who are in the process of making property or financial orders in Australia or overseas, or who already have had orders made overseas and wish to vary or enforce the Orders in Australia.

Bonnie Phillips.
Bonnie Phillips Principal Lawyer Head of Family & Relationship Law View profile
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