Australian law news

Separating? How to Proceed Equitably If You Live in Different Countries

When two individuals who have been married for some time separate, it is frequently very difficult to agree over "who gets what." In ordinary circumstances, this can lead to protracted negotiations or arguments and if the individuals cannot agree informally, may lead to a court case. Imagine how complicated this could become, therefore, when the two individuals in question live in different countries and may have assets in these other territories as well. It can be very difficult to come to a fair resolution, as no one country may have jurisdiction in such a case. What are the options in such a very complicated situation?

The Inadequacies of the Current System

Typically speaking, if an international family law case like this arises, it has to be decided in one or other of the countries and as you can imagine, the party that lives in the chosen country could get a significant advantage over the other. Many people would see this as being an unfair situation. In fact, a few countries would require that these court proceedings be held within the jurisdiction, if any findings were to be valid.

How can the "remote" party get a fair hearing and be sure that they get their just entitlement?

Enter the Arbitrator

It appears that some different options are now being considered by those who find themselves in this situation. This involves the establishment of an independent arbitrator, who is accepted by both parties and is based in a third country which is neutral and to which neither party has a connection in any way.

While such an arbitrator is not part of the official court system, per se, the individual would be an experienced member of the legal profession, perhaps a retired judge. They would be experienced in dispute adjudication and would be able to consider all facts in the case impartially.

To make this approach work, both of the parties need to agree to abide by the outcome of the arbitrator and provide all the details directly to them for consideration. The case should be heard in a country that has the closest connection to the couple, in terms of common law.

The Main Goal

The ultimate objective is to ensure that this independent judge resolves all disputes and comes up with a solution that is acceptable to both parties, without the perceived bias that could exist under the old system.

Is This for You?

If you find yourself in such a complex situation, ask your family law attorney whether adjudication could be your best path forward.