International Divorce & Family Law: Australia & New Zealand

We regularly advise clients with connections to Australia who are going through divorce. In addition to advising on Australian divorce settlements and prenuptial agreements our work  encompasses advice on inheritance issueschildren proceedings and financial proceedings.

We are specialist international divorce lawyers and family solicitors and we have advised numerous clients who are either UK-based but originate from Australia or New Zealand (see our New Zealand page and Papua New Guinea page), or are living outside of the UK but have a connection with England or Wales. We also advise local authorities and other bodies on specific aspects of Australian law and procedure. Partner Henry Brookman has been accepted as an expert witness in the High Court.

Australia’s family law system was revamped in 1975 with the introduction of The Family Law Act. It regulates the breakdown of marriage and children arrangements within Australia. Like England and Wales, Australia is a common law system so judges rely on previously decided cases when it comes to applying the Family Law Act in practice.

To issue divorce proceedings in Australia one spouse must be a citizen of Australia, domiciled there or ‘ordinarily resident’ in Australia for at least a year before the beginning the divorce process.

Australia has a no-fault system of divorce, meaning that parties only need to demonstrate that the marriage has broken down and there’s no prospect of reconciliation. Courts have no interest in or need to investigate the causes for the marital breakdown.

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Australia & New Zealand

The scenarios below do not relate to any individual clients of ours but the facts and the outcomes relate to some similar experiences in our practice.

Australian Property

The Scenario

Mr and Mrs B moved to Australia in retirement. They separated and their lawyers there were negotiating a financial settlement. They owned two houses in Australia. Mr B had a substantial pension from the U.K. They also owned a commercial property in England held through an offshore corporation.

Our Solution

We advised Mr B's Australian lawyers as to how a share of his pension could be directed to Mrs B, and how to assess the value of that. We also advised as to whether an Australian order could be effective to deal with the commercial property, and what could be done to effect an agreed settlement if Mrs B gave up any claim to it. Subsequently we obtained "mirror" consent orders in England.

Lost Marriage Certificate

The Scenario

Mrs H is a dual Australian and British national and moved to London six months ago.  Her husband is based in Australia.  Mr and Mrs H were married in Argentina and Mrs H does not have a copy of the Marriage Certificate.  Mrs H is concerned as to what to do.

Our Solution

We first of all tried to locate the Marriage Certificate from Argentina.  However, the authorities had kept no central record of the marriage.  We therefore had to apply on the strength of evidence provided by Mrs H including a photo of the wedding.  We were successful in this application.  The divorce then proceeded.

If you have questions, contact us now, we can help you.

Australia & New Zealand FAQs

Here we summarise some of the common questions relating to family law and Australia and new Zealand.

Are prenups recognised in Australia?

Yes. Australia recognises both pre- and post-nuptial agreements (known as ‘financial agreements’) so long as:

  • The agreement is in writing and signed by both sides
  • Each spouse obtained independent legal advice about the effect of the agreement on his or her rights and the advantages and disadvantages of entering into such an agreement
  • The lawyer giving the advice provides a signed statement of  advice given and that statement is given to the other spouse

In some circumstances, including where there has been fraud, these financial agreements may be set aside. A prenup in England is also likely to be recognised as long as it too has been drawn up in the correct circumstances.

What kind of factors do the courts in Australia consider when deciding on a financial settlement?

Courts can only make financial orders that are ‘just and equitable’.

Under the legislation the courts must consider all direct and indirect financial contributions made by each party. In reaching a decision on finances the courts must also bear in mind the effect the order will have on the earning capacity of either spouse, the duration of the marriage and the extent to which the marriage affected the earning capacity of either party. Courts can also consider the impact any future cohabitation by either spouse may have on finances.

Do couples have to be separated before seeking a divorce?

Yes. In Australia couples must be separated for at least 12 months before issuing a divorce petition. Time spent living under the same roof but separately can count toward the 12 month waiting period. This requirement for separation is not necessary in England and Wales.

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I had online consultation with the partner Henry Brookman today. I was very happy with the service. I found him to be very insightful, knowledgeable and provided sound advice, as well as being kind and patient. It was a very comfortable discussion and he sent an email detailing our discussion very quickly discussing in our meeting in depth. I am amazed by the service we got just from a free consultation. I would highly recommend these solicitors!

Jan 2022   Shirley Christopher

We spoke at length and at no point felt like he was rushing us and we felt very comfortable. After our discussion we were also quickly sent an email detailing everything we were discussing in our meeting in depth. I am amazed by the service we got just from a free consultation. I would highly recommend these solicitors!

Dec 2021   Tina

I was fortunate to spend an hour running through a few questions with Natasha Slabas. She was quick to grasp the points raised and proposed a sensible way forward. Would recommend

Dec 2021   Nick Powell

I cannot praise the professionalism and courtesy too highly. The advice given in a very complex divorce matter, was clear, concise, enlightening and inspiring.

Nov 2021   Mary Barn

I contacted Henry Brookman because of the complex international aspect of my divorce and I’m very glad I did... Henry took his time explaining all the pro’s and contra’s... I now have a much clearer view over the situation and feel more confident going forward. I’m very grateful for the excellent advice I’ve received and not feeling rushed during the meeting.

Nov 2021   'A B'

Talitha offers sound advice, asks the right questions and advises you with what you need to know not just what you want to hear. I have no hesitation in recommending her services.

Sep 2021   Anu Vidyarthi

Henry took the time to go through all the details of my separation thoroughly. He was very clear on what my options were and what I needed to do to have a seamless agreement with my ex. Thank you for all your help!

Aug 2021   Sandeep Cina

Talitha provided a free consultation and could not have been more helpful. Her guidance was pragmatic and she managed my expectations both on costs and the process. Talitha offered practical advice to find a solution that could avoid going to court.

Aug 2021   Richard Doyle

I had an initial chat with Kevin, the senior associate. Extra ordinary talent to convince parties, very intelligent and I was wonderstuck at his brilliant knowledge of family law.

Aug 2021   Mrs. M. Merchant

I have nothing but positive feedback about this firm... Lorraine Imms from Brookman was absolutely brilliant... Her knowledge is exceptional and she has kept me informed through every step... I'd give ten stars if I could!

Jun 2021   Martin Byrne

Myself and my mother had a free video consultation with Mr. Brookman regarding my mother's divorce and were both impressed with his knowledge on divorce matters, professionalism and understanding. Henry then followed up with us with a clear plan of what he suggests we do...

Mar 2021   Bruna Cordeiro Pezzano

I had a consultation with Mr. Brookman and was impressed with his honesty, knowledge and understanding of my situation. He seemed to take a genuine interest in my case, which immediately put me at ease.

Mar 2021   Chichi

About The Team

We are a specialist divorce and international divorce family law team, advising clients in the United Kingdom (specifically England and Wales) and throughout the world. We have a very people–orientated approach to working with clients. Henry Brookman has practised law for over 45 years, and our team has a wide range of skills and expertise. We are recommended by the Legal 500 and have been awarded the Law Society’s quality mark, Lexcel.

Partner

Henry Brookman

With over 45 years' experience, Henry Brookman is the senior member of the team. He is described by The Legal 500 as ‘shrewd, savvy, sagacious and highly experienced’.

Partner

Talitha Brookman

Talitha is a Partner in the firm and a very experienced practitioner who has specialised exclusively in family law for over 15 years. Talitha is recommended by The Legal 500.

Partner

Philip Morton

Recommended by The Legal 500, Philip is an expert in all areas of family law, including domestic and international financial disputes, fraud and commercial dispute resolution.

Partner

Natasha Slabas

Expert in all areas of family law, often involving cases that have an international element, including work in relation to financial settlements following divorce.

Partner

Aziz Malik

Aziz is a Partner at the firm and is highly regarded for his expertise on financial matters in divorce and is recommended by the Legal 500.

Senior Associate

Joanna Potbury

Family law specialist based in Brighton advising on divorce, cohabitation agreements, children, post-nuptial agreements, and domestic violence. Joanna is recommended by The Legal 500.

Senior Associate

Kirsty Kelleher

Kirsty is a specialist family law solicitor recommended by The Legal 500. An expert in divorce, financial matters, child-related disputes and contentious probate cases.

Senior Associate

Kevin Danagher

Kevin specialises exclusively in family law, advising on all aspects of relationship breakdown, divorce, same sex marriage, marital agreements, and international family cases.

Associate Solicitor

Jennifer Douglas

Jennifer is a talented solicitor, recommended by The Legal 500 and experienced in all elements of family law, including high net worth financial proceedings, Children Act proceedings.

Associate Solicitor

Gavin Yeung

Recommended by The Legal 500, Gavin has excellent experience in family law including divorce and financial proceedings and international child abduction proceedings.

Senior Associate

Pippa Marshall

Pippa’s experience covers all areas of family law including divorce, financial remedies, same sex relationships, and pre- and post-nuptial agreements and is recommended by The Legal 500.

Chartered Legal Executive

Lorraine Imms

With over 20 years' family law experience, Lorraine can advise on divorce, matrimonial finances, cohabitee disputes, nuptial agreements and private children matters.

Trainee Solicitor

Rachael Au

Rachael is a highly capable member of the family team in Brighton. She started her training contract in September 2019, her first seat being in Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence.

Paralegal

Katie Main Wilson

From the Brighton office, Katie assists the team with matters relating to pre-nuptial agreements, divorce, financial disputes, child access agreements and harassment protection.

Office Manager

Lorna Martin

Lorna is our Office Manager who oversees the operations of the firm including providing accounts support as well as secretarial support to the team.

Accounts Manager

Evdokia Dikova

Eva is an AAT qualified accounts manager and holds full AAT membership (MAAT). She gained her degree in financial accounting from the University of Economics in Bulgaria.

Secretary

Victoria Delatouche

Victoria is a highly experienced Legal Secretary and a long-standing member of the team. She provides secretarial support for the office.

Secretary

Michelle Louison

Michelle provides secretarial support to Henry Brookman. A very experienced family law secretary, Michelle has worked in law for over 12 years.

Front of House Manager

Patricia Antonio

Patricia is an experienced secretary and office administrator, handling the calls that come into the office, greeting clients, and managing office presentation.

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If you have questions, contact us now, we can help you.

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Or call us on +44 (0)20 7430 8470