At The Norton Law Group, we have decades of experience in international family law and have acted for clients both in Australia and also overseas clients who are involved in complex property and child related matters. Our specialist family lawyers have the knowledge and contacts to manage the most complex of international family law cases.
We have significant experience with clients living overseas and we have represented clients in the Family Court of Australia in relation to jurisdictional matters for both property settlement and parenting matters.
Our clients have resided in countries across the world including China, Dubai, Holland, Hong Kong, Japan, Norway, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Colombia the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
More and more, we are seeing cases where families have lived in various different countries throughout their relationship. Children are often born in an overseas country and hold dual citizenship. Our clients also often themselves hold dual citizenship and may continue to have dealings in other countries. Many families who have lived overseas often accumulate various different property interests in other countries.
It is very important for parties to seek specialist advice from a family law specialist on this issue. A wrong decision, such as commencing proceedings in the wrong jurisdiction, often holds significant consequences on the outcome of the matter and can significantly increase legal costs.
Broadly speaking, in property matters, in Australia the Courts must decide, “Is Australia a clearly inappropriate forum” for the property settlement proceedings to be determined. To decide this, the Courts consider the following issues:
- Is there an injustice to one or the other party;
- Expense and inconvenience to the parties in the competing countries;
- Advantages of litigating in another country to another party;
- Whether the Jurisdiction of that country has been invoked before by a party;
- What type of property exists in each country and what Orders can be made in each country and enforced, concerning that property;
- Where are the majority of the witnesses located;
- Are there any language barriers and if so, how will they be addressed.
In relation to parenting matters, the test is different. Whilst the above considerations may have some relevance in determining the appropriate forum, the test is the best interests of the children. The Court must determine how the child’s best interests can be best served when it comes to choosing between Australia and any overseas forum to hear any parenting dispute.
Whether the issue is related to parenting matters, financial issues, child support arrangements, divorce or other jurisdictional issues, obtaining the advice of a specialist family lawyer that is knowledgeable and specialises in international family law matters is invaluable.
For advice in relation to international family law matters, speak to one of our specialist family lawyers today – www.thenortonlawgroup.com.au or call us on 02 9560 6811.