In the event of divorce, does my spouse have to include their assets located outside Australia?

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In short, yes. Assets such as land, a dwelling, banks accounts, shares and other business interests held overseas can be treated like any other asset in a divorce, and are relevant to determining adjustment of overall matrimonial property under Australian law.

When identifying all assets, the duty of disclosure, applicable to all parties, demands full and frank disclosure of assets owned and controlled, including those located outside Australia.

A failure to disclose has serious consequences and may result in the later re-opening of matters if subsequent evidence of the failure materialises.

Assets located overseas may be identified as property within the pool for adjustment or as a financial resource, also relevant to adjustment. The Court may order a party to deal with an overseas asset in a particular way however due to the complexities that can arise enforcing orders in a foreign country, the Court will often consider making an adjustment with respect to assets in Australia having regard to the overseas assets, but without altering their ownership.

Australian Court orders can be registered in certain countries meaning they then have the same effect and ability to be enforced as an order made in that county.

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