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Expert divorce representation for Australian expatriates abroad

Navigating divorce in Australia is no easy task, but to do so while overseas adds a new level of complexity. At Nevett Ford, we understand these unique challenges well and are committed to assisting Australian expatriates around the world – be it the Middle East or beyond.

We specialise in handling divorce applications and responses, as well as annulment applications. From child custody to property division, we can help you manage all factors of a separation in Australia. Our commitment is to ensure your rights, emotional well-being, and future stability are protected even while you are abroad.

We approach each case with compassion, transparent communication and a focus on securing the ideal outcome for you. We are ready to support you every step of the way through this often difficult process. Contact our Melbourne-based divorce lawyers to discover how we can assist you in navigating divorce from a distance with confidence.

How to Apply for Divorce While Abroad

1. Jurisdiction Determination:

The first step is to establish if Australia has jurisdiction over your divorce. Generally, you can apply for divorce in Australia if you are an Australian citizen or resident, or regard Australia as your permanent home.

2. Legal Representation:

Seek legal representation from a qualified divorce lawyer specialising in handling cases for Australian expatriates living abroad. They will guide you through the process and ensure all necessary documentation is completed accurately.

3. Filing for Divorce:

Once jurisdiction is established, file an application for divorce with the Family Court of Australia. This can often be done electronically, which is convenient for expatriates residing outside of Australia.

4. Serving Documents:

Serve divorce documents to your spouse, following the legal requirements of the jurisdiction where they reside. This may involve using international service methods or engaging local legal assistance.

5. Divorce Hearing:

If the divorce is uncontested and all requirements are met, a divorce hearing may not be necessary. However, if there are contested issues, a court hearing may be scheduled to resolve them. This may be done online for expatriates living abroad.

6. Finalisation of Divorce:

Once the waiting period has passed and any outstanding issues are resolved, the court will grant a divorce order. This officially dissolves the marriage, allowing both parties to move forward independently.

Post-Divorce Matters For Australian Expatriates

Dealing with divorce in Australia from overseas can be complex as it is important to consider how property or financial orders and child custody arrangements will be affected by international and immigration laws. It is important to seek legal support in navigating issues, such as:

1. Child Custody and Visitation:

If there are children involved, it is important to determine custody arrangements that consider the best interests of the children while also accommodating the logistical challenges of living abroad.

2. Property Division:

Divorce lawyers can help address the division of assets and property acquired during the marriage, taking into account international laws and agreements that may affect ownership rights.

3. Financial Settlements:

Couples are required to resolve financial matters, including spousal support (if applicable), by negotiating fair and equitable settlements that comply with Australian laws and any relevant international agreements.

4. Enforcement of Orders:

It is imperative to ensure that any court orders related to custody, visitation, or financial arrangements are enforceable across international borders, and to seek legal assistance if enforcement becomes necessary.

5. Updating Legal Documents:

Legal documents such as wills, trusts, and beneficiary designations must be updated to reflect changes in marital status and ensure your wishes are accurately represented post-divorce.

6. Emotional Support:

It is best to seek emotional support from friends, family, or professional counsellors to cope with the emotional challenges of divorce, particularly when living far away from your support network.

Our Services

Property Settlement

Dividing your marital assets and debts fairly according to Australian law, including home, vehicles, investments, and retirement accounts.

Child Custody and Support

Prioritising the best interests of your children by advocating for custody arrangements, visitation schedules, and child support calculations and enforcement.

Spousal Support

Assisting you with alimony or spousal support claims by assessing your finances and negotiating a fair arrangement that reflects your contributions to the marriage.

Domestic Violence Protection

Providing compassionate legal support and representation for victims of domestic violence seeking protection orders to ensure your safety and well-being.

Prenups & Post-Nuptial Agreements

Running a validity and enforceability review and renegotiating or challenging a prenup or post-nuptial agreement to protect your interests.


Advising you on whether mediation is suitable for your case and guiding you through the process while making sure you are aware of your rights and legal options before the mediation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I file for divorce while living abroad?
Yes. As an Australian expatriate, you can still file for divorce in Australia even if you are residing in another country, provided you meet certain jurisdictional requirements such as being an Australian citizen or resident or considering Australia your permanent home.

You also must show the court that you have been separated from your spouse for at least 12 months, and either solely or jointly agree and acknowledge that the relationship has irretrievably broken down.

How long does the divorce process take?
In Australia, the minimum time between filing a divorce application and finalising the divorce is generally around three to four months. This is separate and distinct from the property or parenting issues, which can take longer and are independent.
Will I need to appear in court?
In many cases, for a divorce application no appearance is required, or a simple telephone appearance is all that is needed. If you do need to have a hearing, our divorce lawyers will represent you in court proceedings (in person or virtually).
How does living abroad affect the divorce property settlement process?
Property settlements for separating or divorced couples consider various factors, including the financial contributions of each party, non-financial contributions (such as homemaking and child-rearing), future needs, and the overall value of the assets and liabilities involved.

However, living abroad may complicate the division of assets and property acquired during the marriage. Our lawyers can guide navigating international laws and agreements that may impact property settlement and ensure your rights are protected.

How does child support work for Aussie expats living abroad?
Child support arrangements for expats living abroad can be complex, involving considerations such as international jurisdiction and currency exchange rates. We specialise in resolving child support matters for Aussie expats and can assist in establishing fair and enforceable arrangements, regardless of where you are.
Will my divorce settlement be affected by the laws of the country where I currently reside?
The impact of differing laws in different countries is complex and very particular to your situation. In general, the country where you spent the majority of the relationship and where the majority of your assets are, or where your children are usually resident, is the appropriate country to deal with these issues. However, overlapping jurisdictions, partial settlements and a range of issues can arise to complicate this. Our lawyers can guide you on how international laws may impact your divorce settlement.
How can I enforce court orders related to my divorce if I live abroad?
Enforcing court orders across international borders can be challenging but not impossible. Our legal team has experience in handling international enforcement matters and can assist you in ensuring that court orders related to your divorce are enforced effectively, regardless of your location.
What should I do if my ex-partner is not complying with court orders?
If your ex-partner is not complying with court orders, it is crucial to seek legal advice promptly. Our team can assist in taking the necessary steps to enforce court orders and protect your rights.

We have considerable expertise in helping locate people domestically or internationally to prove to the court that the documents have been sent to them.

Have More Questions?

Why Choose Us

Decades of Experience

Our Melbourne-based divorce law firm has decades of experience in handling international divorce cases, separation, and marriage annulment with hundreds advised upon each year.

Personalised Service

We know that every divorce case is unique, especially for Australian expatriates, which is why we tailor our strategies to fit your individual needs and circumstances.

High Success Rate

Our divorce lawyers strive to provide a positive resolution and outcome for all parties involved.

Standard Of Care

At Nevett Ford, we believe in more than just legal representation; we believe in building a partnership with our clients that results in a strong and meaningful bond.

Fast Response

We pride ourselves on being accessible and responsive to calls and emails, especially for our clients abroad.

Initial Fixed Cost Consultations

We provide transparent and affordable fees, so clients know what the process will look like ahead of time.


Professionalism, Hard Work and Dedication

“The last 3 years I been liaising with Nevett Ford and I can finally say it’s all over I could have hoped for. To Richard Hamilton and the entire team at Nevett Ford I can’t thank you enough for your professionalism, hard work and dedication.”



Professionalism, Quality, Value

“Firstly, I can’t begin to thank you enough Nevett ford lawyers, you have all done such a great job with my case, I personally want to thank Stacey and Richard Hamilton for all the hard work that you have done. You have changed my life and every dollar spent was well worth it.  You are very professional, responsive and compassionate. From the first day when I walked in, Richard gave me complete confidence unlike previous lawyers and with this, he was able to go above and beyond to help me and get fantastic results. Thank you Richard, and thank you to your whole team. I will definitely recommend you to everyone who needs your services.”



Mlam Camou (MlCam)
Mlam Camou (MlCam)
I will recommend definitely this services to anyone who wants a clear and positive outcome for his immigration case. Professionalism and experience are also 2 very important points to consider when you decide Nevett ford to represent you. I am satisfy with their work to be honest.Thank you Nevett Ford Lawyers for your excellent work.
Lisa-Marie Hinton
Lisa-Marie Hinton
My visa application was the most challenging time of my life. It was so much pressure, lots of tears and emotions. Ryan and the wonderful Team guided our family and secured my husband and children Citizenship and my PR. I think Ryan has a beautiful heart and is very kind. He listened to me when I was at my wits-end and could only cry on the phone. I would choose Ryan again. It has been a difficult journey but he never gave up on helping my family in the fight of staying together. Forever grateful. The Hintons xxx
Vivien Karabinas
Vivien Karabinas
The expertise and service received by lawyer Sophie Stickland was efficient, caring and reasonably priced. I would highly recommend her. Thank you.
Jervin Paul Dhas
Jervin Paul Dhas
Had the pleasure of working with Lili for my PR application and I had a very good experience. She was very responsive and guided me and provided updates in every step and the entire process was smooth and quick. Highly recommend their services and one of the best. Thanks again Team
Tom Simpson
Tom Simpson
During the period between 2020 - 2023 i was applying for a permanent partner visa and hired Ryan to assist me.I had spoke to 7 other immigration lawyers prior to Ryan, and the general feedback i would get back was negative (installing doubt into my mind about the likelihood of obtaining a visa in my circumstance). Ryan was the only lawyer who had a positive attitude and was optimistic about my situation and gave me a lot of free advice about what i could do even before i hired him, this was a major green flag to me so i made the decision to hire him.I couldn't of asked for a better lawyer, i would highly recommended his services to anyone. Good communication, fast responses, never hesitant to answer any queries, pleasant to speak to and most importantly a good lawyer that gets the job done.I recently obtained my PR after a 3 year process and I cannot thank Ryan (and the team) enough for their service.
Hieronim Wiatrowski
Hieronim Wiatrowski
Lili Sibic was ery professional and helpful. Highly recommended ????
Jessica Liu
Jessica Liu
Awesome and extremely professional and patient. Highly recommended!!!
Experienced, organised and friendly, Ryan is always helpful and reassuring during the entire visa application process. The entire duration has made him more than just a lawyer but a friend.
Hiro Kamisugi
Hiro Kamisugi
Nathan and Jean as team helped me for my first home purchase. Even though I knew nothing of this matter, they made my whole journey nice and comfortable. Everyone around myself tells me that purchasing home is a very stressful journey, but I was totally fine with their help. Don’t think I can ever ask anyone else for my next home in the future!

Nevett Ford Is A Member Of The Following:

Who You’ll Work With

Richard Hamilton
Catalano Clay
Erin Trantino
Jenny Christofidis
Maggie Wang
Stacey Raphael

    Contact us

    *If you are overseas, please call our office on +61 3 9614 7111.

    Nevett Ford Melbourne Pty Ltd
    ABN: 80 144 697 790

    Level 16, South Tower, Rialto Building, 525 Collins Street
    Melbourne, VIC 3000