Overseas Assets in Family Law Property Disputes

Parties to an agreed property settlement, or litigants involved in property proceedings before the Courts, must take into account and carefully consider any overseas assets or resources they have.

If you have overseas assets or resources, they must be disclosed to the other party.  The Australian Courts can make Orders which are binding on a party to the proceedings to deal with overseas assets and resources in a particular way, or the Court may make Orders which take into account the existence and value of the assets overseas.

Other relevant issues to overseas assets and resources include:

  • If parties cannot agree on the value of an overseas asset it may be necessary to obtain a valuation from an independent expert.
  • The anticipated or possible taxation consequences, both in Australia and/or overseas, associated with the overseas asset or resource.  It is important that advice be obtained in relation to any possible tax implications prior to entering into any property settlement or property Orders.
  • Any issues related to the implementation and enforcement of property Orders affecting overseas assets or resources.  It may be that a third party’s cooperation, or further Orders from the appropriate court in the overseas jurisdiction, may be required to implement Orders made by an Australian court.  For example, enquiries may need to be made with the Trustee of an overseas superannuation or pension fund to implement a superannuation splitting or pension sharing Order made in Australia.
  • Depending on the extent of the assets and resources that a party owns overseas and where each party is located, it may be appropriate for that party’s Family Law matter to be determined by the laws of that country. Therefore if you or your spouse own assets or have financial resources overseas, it is prudent to obtain legal advice.

Edwards Family Lawyers are experienced in matters where client’s and their assets are located overseas.  We have experience in acting in matters involving overseas properties, companies, trusts, super funds and pensions.  We have close relationships with international law firms and experts to assist us where the need arises. If you would like further advice, please contact us.

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