VIC Divorce in UK and Australia - No Initiating Application was Served?

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Well-Known Member
20 July 2015
Good evening all...

This is a long shot but thought I'd throw it out just in case anyone has any experience in this area. I submitted both a divorce application as well as an Initiating Application for Property Settlement in the Federal Circuit Court in September.

The other party lives in the UK an I live in Australia with the two children. I have spent over four weeks trying to serve her the documents and have now applied for an Order to dispense with service as it is clear she has received the documents but is refusing to respond.

I have found out today that she had made an application for divorce in the UK in March 2016 and put in an application for Ancillary Relief (Property Settlement) in June 2016. No documents have been provided, no emails nor mention of it in any communications between us.

A process server made some very aggressive approaches to family and work colleagues whilst I was away on business last week but nothings was left, however, today I received a letter from the UK courts in the post (standard delivery from the UK which has taken five weeks) advising that a first hearing date is set for Nov 20th. A number of the deadlines for submission of information have already passed.

There will now be a dispute about the forum in which the divorce takes place and I am researching this and am confident that Australia is an appropriate forum, however, I believe the UK would also argue the same.

My query is...I have read that whoever starts the proceedings first can often win the day, however, if the documents hadn't been served, does the initial application date carry any true weight?

No attempt had been made to notify of the proceedings...nothing. I will of course ensure this is noted but curious as to whether anyone has any experience or thoughts on the matter.

Thanks as always everyone.



Hi Mollis,

Whilst I have no direct experience, I have heard, like you, that first to institute proceedings often prevails because that court gets first opportunity to consider whether it has jurisdiction to act. I would consider engaging a UK family lawyer if I were you so that at least your interests are not jeopardised.
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