My Legal Blog

Howdy! I'm Dan Smith and I live with my wonderful family in Perth. This is my legal blog which aims to look at every part of the legal system. I should point out that i'm not a lawyer myself. However, my good friend Stan has been representing people in court for many years. I find Stan's work fascinating and I love asking him questions. I have even done a bit of my own research into the legal system. I decided to pull everything together here so I could organise my thoughts while also providing useful info for others. Thanks for checking out my blog!

How Can You Serve Papers to Your Ex if They Are Overseas?

Law Blog

If you are trying to pursue a divorce in a family court, but the other party appears to have moved out of the country, matters may be more complex. You will still need to ensure that they are fully aware of your plans, and the court will need to know that they have been informed on a formal basis. While this will involve serving them with the relevant papers, is this going to prove impossible given that they are now overseas?

Bilateral Treaties

Much will depend on the country involved and whether or not they have a bilateral treaty with Australia. Many nations are party to what is known as the "Hague service convention," which was designed to allow for documents to flow back and forth in relation to any civil or commercial matter. If your ex is indeed in one of those countries, you should be able to serve the papers and receive an affidavit to confirm that this has been done. You will then be able to use it as evidence of service as you push forward with your application for divorce at home.

Preparing the Application

As you can imagine, you need to follow a particular procedure.

  1. To begin with, look at both the federal, state or territory regulations as they may vary depending on where you are located.
  2. More often than not, you will have to apply to the registrar in your district and ask them to facilitate foreign service.
  3. Tell the registrar what documents need to be served and provide them with the actual documents at the same time.
  4. If your ex is now living in a country where English is not the primary language, you will need to get the documents translated and certified as accurate.
  5. You may also need to supply duplicate documentation, which the foreign jurisdiction will retain.
  6. Also, remember that there will be fees involved, and you need to take care of a payment method.

The Process

  1. So long as the requirements have been met, your local registrar will transmit all of this information to the corresponding entity in the relevant country.
  2. If all is in order, then this authority will attempt to serve the individual in accordance with domestic laws.
  3. The authority will give you a formal response soon after that to tell you if the action was successful or unsuccessful.
  4. You should be able to use the certificate or affidavit as proof that they have at least tried to serve the papers.

Bear in Mind

Remember, rules may vary from country to country, but you can find out more information at the Hague Convention site. You can also get more information on serving papers in a divorce application from your local process serving agent.


27 January 2022