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We specialise in international family law and can help you to untangle the web of jurisdictions involved in cross-border separations, international custody disputes, and financial settlements. Early and careful advice can help you avoid costly mistakes or missteps.

Understanding international family law

International family law may be an issue for families that are or have lived overseas, or where they hold property overseas. It can include international marriage and divorce, cross-border child custody and child abduction matters and international property and financial settlements.

Issues of jurisdiction, enforcement and different rights across countries can make your situation more complicated.

When separating, the Family Law Act applies in Australia. If there is an international element to your situation, then enforcing agreements or Orders in other countries may not be straightforward. When separating overseas, it is important to get legal advice tailored to your situation as quickly as possible.

Our international divorce lawyers can assist with:

  • International divorce proceedings: guidance on initiating or responding to divorce proceedings that span multiple jurisdictions, including advice on jurisdiction selection to best protect your interests.
  • Service of documents: assistance in bringing legal proceedings filed in Australia to the attention of a person in another country.
  • Cross-border child custody: we can help pre separation or post separation advice to help you secure maximum opportunity for time with your children, by negotiating outcomes or conducting Court proceedings. We have extensive experience in disputes about travel for children outside of Australia, such as Urgent Airport Watchlist applications.
  • International relocation: legal support for parents who are wishing to relocate internationally with their children or opposing their children moving overseas. We will help you to ensure the best interests of the child are prioritised.
  • International child abduction and urgent child recovery order applications: advice and representation for cases conducted under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction or where a child has been removed from Australia by a parent.
  • International property and financial settlements: navigating the division of international assets and enforcement of financial orders across different jurisdictions, for assets held in Australia and in other nations.
  • Child support and maintenance: advice and assistance for both the paying or receiving parent in relation to international child support or child maintenance, which can be very complex and variable depending on the countries involved.
  • Enforcement: advice about the process to have Australian Court Orders registered and enforced overseas, or how to register family law legal documents from other countries here in Australia.
  • Travel documents: guidance and legal support to resolve disagreements about obtaining or renewing a child’s passport.

Debra Parker's expertise

Leading our international family law practice is Debra Parker, a member of the International Academy of Family Lawyers.

Debra has a proven track record in successfully conducting numerous international matters, including high-conflict and litigated matters. Her strategic insight, meticulous attention to detail and passion have secured positive outcomes for many clients. Her expertise is particularly invaluable in complex cases that require not only legal acumen but also a deep understanding of cross-cultural dynamics and international legal protocols.

Our international divorce lawyers regularly assist families where there is a concern about children travelling, or being stopped from being able to travel, to other nations. We also regularly advice clients, where working overseas has been, or will be part of their case.

Our team liaises with other specialist divorce lawyers from all corners of the globe, to ensure that all aspects of your situation are covered and enforceable in applicable jurisdictions.

The complexity of international family law

Cases involving international elements require careful consideration of various factors, including:

  • Jurisdiction: determining the most appropriate legal jurisdiction for your case, which can significantly impact the outcome if not properly understood before you take steps.
  • International laws and treaties: understanding how international agreements and treaties, such as the Hague Conventions, may apply in your situation.
  • Cultural and legal diversity: recognising the impact of cultural differences and diverse legal systems on family law matters.
  • Enforceability: consideration of how legal outcomes obtained in one country will apply in another country.

Why work with us

  • Strategic legal advice: our team provides strategic advice tailored to the specifics of your international family law matter, considering all legal and cultural nuances.
  • Comprehensive support: from legal representation in court to negotiating across borders, we are committed to supporting you through every step of the process.
  • Specialised expertise: our lawyers have extensive experience in international family law, ensuring you receive knowledgeable and effective legal guidance.
  • Client-focused approach: we understand the emotional and logistical complexities of international family law matters and provide compassionate, personalised service.

Navigating your international family law matter

If you're facing an international family law issue, let us provide the clarity and support you need to navigate this challenging landscape. Contact us to learn how our specialised knowledge and global resources can help resolve your international family law matter.

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