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Frequently Asked Questions

Even if you are not an Australian citizen or resident, it is possible that Australian family law applies to you and your family.  Below are answers to some of the family and relationship law questions we commonly get asked by clients.  

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I am living overseas and want to separate from my partner - where should I get legal advice?

It’s important to be aware that the law of more than one country can apply to property and/or parenting issues if you're a separating ex-pat couple.

You will need to obtain preliminary legal advice from practitioners experienced in each of the legal jurisdictions that are relevant to your situation. Ultimately, if agreement is reached or court orders are made, you may also need to engage legal services in each country, for example, to avoid adverse taxation consequences.

Click here to read more about some of the key things that you will need to consider if you or your partner lives overseas and you are in the process of separating.

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Can I relocate to a new country and take my children with me?

An issue that we commonly see with separating ex-pat couples is an application by one partner to “relocate” overseas with the couple’s children and, in some instances, children are taken out of Australia against the wishes of one parent.

In these types of cases, the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction may be invoked and for non-signatory countries, other steps may also be required in Australia and abroad. The Hague Convention is an agreement between many countries around the world to uphold orders made in other countries in relation to children. However, not all countries are signatories to this Convention. These applications are technically difficult and require specialist knowledge and experience to navigate.  If you wish to relocate your children to another country, you should seek specialist family law advice.

Click here to read more about some of the key things that you will need to consider if you or your partner lives overseas and you are in the process of separating.

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What if I'm not married? How does being in a de facto/common law relationship affect my rights?

If you are in a relationship but not married, your status as a de facto or otherwise can be very important, especially when it comes to dividing your assets and working out who gets what. 

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Do we have to live together to be in a de facto relationship?

Under Australian law, if two people have a relationship together as a couple and they are living together on a genuine domestic basis, then they are generally considered to be in a de facto relationship. Living together, however, is not always necessary or sufficient to establish a de facto relationship. 

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What if my ex-partner makes a de facto property settlement claim against me?

If your ex-partner makes a de facto property settlement claim against you it is important to know that, generally speaking, a couple must have been together in a de facto relationship for two years before they can legally make a claim for a property settlement against their former partner. 

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What is a financial agreement?

If you are married or in a de facto relationship and you separate, a financial agreement is a useful way of controlling what will happen to your property, financial and superannuation assets. Financial agreements, if properly executed, are binding under Australian law and can be created before, during, or after a marriage or a de facto relationship (including same-sex relationships). 

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Do I need a financial agreement?

What are the advantages of creating a financial agreement and what kind of things you should think about when considering whether a financial agreement is right for your circumstances?

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Surrogacy and sperm donors - what are your options?

For couples looking to start a family, surrogacy is an increasingly common alternative to adoption or assisted reproductive treatment, particularly for same-sex couples or couples experiencing infertility.

Click here to read a brochure on surrogacy.

Click here to read a brochure on fertility treatment, sperm donors and parents.

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