International Family Law

When your family law matter crosses international borders, things can get complicated.  After all, family law is different in each country. Accordingly, if you have an international family law matter, it’s essential you receive advice from someone who is an expert in family law in the relevant country where proceedings have been initiated (or are contemplated) and/or is able to provide advice on international family law issues..

Whether the issue is related to parenting matters, financial issues, child support arrangements, divorce or other jurisdictional issues, having the expertise of a family lawyer that is proficient in international family law matters is invaluable.

Our International Family Law Services

Over the years, we’ve developed close relationships with fellow Academy members at the International Academy of Family Lawyers, which means we work in close conjunction with family law experts in the United Kingdom, Europe, The Americas and Asia Pacific in addressing all aspects of international family law matters.

International Child Abduction

If your child has been abducted to another country by the other parent, time is an important factor in getting them returned. At Damien Greer Lawyers, we can provide you with urgent advice and assist you in obtaining Orders to have your child returned home safely, provided the other country is one that is a signatory to the Hague Convention.

International Relocation

If your partner is considering leaving the country and relocating internationally with your child, then they’ll need your permission or a court order to do so lawfully with the children. We can help you reach an agreement with them about this or apply for a court order to object to the move. Learn more >

Family Law Watchlist Applications

If you have reason to believe that your child may be abducted by their other parent, then you can apply to have your child placed on the Family Law Watchlist. This will then prevent the child from leaving the country, without your express consent or an Order of the Court permitting the other parent to travel with them. Learn more >

Recovery Orders

If your child has been taken from you, then you can apply to the court for what is known as a ‘recovery order’ under the Family Law Act. Learn more >

Overseas Service of Documents

If your partner lives overseas, you’ll still need to ‘serve’ them with legal documents if you have initiated court proceedings in Australia. At Damien Greer Lawyers, we can help talk you through the process regardless of whether you know where your partner lives or not. If appropriate, we can also help you apply for substituted service or dispensation of service. Learn more >

Registration of Overseas Parenting Orders

If you’ve been granted child custody and access orders overseas, then it may be possible to have those Orders registered in Australia, depending on the country the orders were issued in. We can talk you through the process and help get your orders registered.

Registration and Enforcement of Overseas Judgements

If you’ve relocated to Australia following a family law dispute, you may want to consider having your overseas judgment registered and enforced in Australia. We can help break down the process for you and explain what needs to be done in order to ensure this happens. 

Forum Disputes

If there are two forums available for the hearing and resolution of your dispute, you will need to obtain advice on which form is the appropriate forum for dealing with the matter. This is referred to in the reverse, as the “clearly inappropriate forum” test to see whether Australia should exercise jurisdiction under the Family Law Act. We can explain the options to you and outline the process. Learn more >

Child Support Departure Prohibition Orders

Departure Prohibition Orders are made by the Child Support Registrar in instances where someone who owes child support is attempting to leave the country. We can advise you in relation to responding to Departure Prohibition Orders. Learn more >

Child Support, Including Registration, Enforcement, and Variation of Overseas Maintenance Liabilities

If you’ve been issued with overseas maintenance liabilities, then you’ll need to get them registered and enforced in Australia. We can help you with this process, and we can also help you get any overseas maintenance liabilities varied, if required. Learn more >

Prenuptial and Cohabitation Agreements

While international prenuptial and/or other cohabitation agreements are not valid in Australia. However, at Damien Greer Lawyers, we can help you convert your pre-existing agreement into a Consent Order or a ‘Binding Financial Agreement’ that will be enforceable in Australian courts.

Overseas Property Law

More and more relationships occur between two people who live in different countries. But, what happens to the foreign assets when a marriage between an Australian and someone from another country ends in divorce? Learn more >

International Law FAQs

How can I get a divorce in Australia if I married overseas?

You can get divorced in Australia if:

  • Either you or your spouse is an Australian citizen (this can be by birth, descent or grant of Australian citizenship)
  • Either you or your spouse currently live in Australia or have lived in Australia for the past 12 months
  • You plan to live in Australia indefinitely and consider Australia to be ‘home’

As long as you meet one of these three criteria, you’ll be able to apply for a divorce through the court. However, you will need to prove your circumstances and your eligibility.

Can I take my child overseas?

If you and your partner get a divorce, then you may disagree about travel arrangements for your child.

If you’d like to take your child on holiday, then you’ll need the other parent’s permission first. You should never take your child abroad without the agreement of the other parent. So, if they refuse, an application to the court for an order may be necessary.

If the travelling parent is successful in obtaining an order, the court will often ask them to provide the non-travelling parent with a travel itinerary (including proof of return airfare ticketing) and a means of communication with the child for while they’re away.

How can I get my child returned to Australia?

A child should never be taken out of Australia without the consent of the other parent. This is because taking a child out of the country without the consent of the other parent is classed as international parental child abduction.

If your child has been taken without your consent, you should make an Application to the Court for your child to be placed on the Family Law Watchlist with the assistance of the Australian Federal Police.

If your child has been taken to a country that is a member of the Hague Convention, the Australian Central Authority may be able to assist you. If your child has been taken to a country that is not a member of the Hague Convention, you may be able to get assistance from the Consular Branch of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The best international family lawyers (like us) will be able to advise you swiftly and give you the best possible chance of getting your child returned.

I got married overseas. Is my marriage recognised in Australia?

If you got married overseas, then your marriage will generally be recognised in Australia as long as:

  • The marriage was valid in the overseas country and met all of their requirements of marriage
  • The marriage would have been valid if it was carried out in Australia

An overseas marriage cannot be registered in Australia, but the foreign marriage certificate will be evidence that the marriage occurred. If your marriage certificate is not in English, then you’ll need it to be professionally translated. Your translator will also need to sign an affidavit saying that the translation is accurate and they have the necessary qualifications to carry out the translation.

Our International Family Law Expertise

At Damien Greer Lawyers, we have been consulting in the field of international family law for more than 30 years.

In addition, our Principal Damien Greer, has also participated in numerous multi-jurisdictional disputes and advised on complex financial settlements, prenuptial agreements and complicated children’s matters. Plus, Damien has also been appointed expert witness to the High Court Family Division in the United Kingdom and in the United States with respect to the application of Australian family law.

In 1996, Damien was invited to become a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL), a peer acknowledgement of his expertise in family law. Damien regularly attends IAFL conferences and has presented to the Academy on multiple occasions.

Contact Damien Greer Lawyers Today

 At Damien Greer Lawyers, we have a reputation for excellence in the family law industry both nationally and abroad. We recognise that any change to your relationship is likely to be stressful and traumatic. As a result, we try to resolve disputes in a constructive, sensitive and timely manner. We also pride ourselves on providing a personal, attentive and bespoke service to each client, and we always ensure our approach is tailored to your case. We always keep your goals and concerns in mind and we work with you every step of the way, so you always know what’s happening.

For advice in relation to international family law matters, speak to our expert team today on (07) 3837 5500 or get started online.