Love has no borders... We live in a global
community, with travel and communication being easily accessible it
is common for people to work and travel overseas and to find
partners outside of Australia, which can result in people having
ties to more than one country.
For example, the case of Radmacher v Granantino involved a
French citizen and a German citizen who celebrated their marriage
in both London and Switzerland and the couple subsequently
cohabited in London and New York.
Whilst, at first glance this case may seem extreme, the reality
is that more and more Australian Citizens are finding themselves in
similar situations. So what does this mean from a family law
perspective? Some examples of when you may need advice from a
Family Lawyer in relation to International Family Law issues
International Pre-Nuptial Agreements
"Pre-Nups" is the colloquial term given to Binding
Financial Agreements ("BFAs"). BFAs can be entered at any
time before or after commencing a de facto relationship or
marriage. BFAs can spell out what will happen to your property if
you separate and how you will manage your relationship and finances
while you are together.
If you and your partner have assets and property in more than
one country, it is possible to work with lawyers from that country
to create an Agreement that is binding in both Australia and
Relocating Children/Moving with Children
A common difficulty upon the breakdown of an international
relationship, is deciding in which country the children will live.
This can mean having to make an application to the Court for
permission to relocate overseas with the children, or if one parent
has removed the children from Australia without the other
parent's consent, then it may be necessary to bring an
application under the international treaty which deals with the
removal of children across international boundaries, for return of
the children ("the Hague Convention").
International Property Matters
If parties separate and hold assets in both Australia and
overseas, it is necessary to identify and value the overseas assets
and determine how they should be dealt with. In some cases it may
be more beneficial to one party to bring Court proceedings
overseas. In that situation it is vital that the matter is assessed
quickly to ensure that proceedings are commenced in the appropriate
jurisdiction and within any applicable time limit.
In some cases parties have already obtained overseas Court
Orders which need to be enforced and implemented in Australia. This
will not be possible in all instances and it is important to
consider the enforceability of overseas Orders within Australia,
before obtaining them. In other cases it may be necessary to
commence separate Court proceedings in Australia.
There may be assets of sufficient value in Australia to enable
an Australian Court to make an appropriate division of those
assets, taking into account the value of the overseas assets.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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