NSW Launching Application in Multiple Jurisdictions Simultaneously?

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Black Rabbit

Active Member
13 July 2015
If one were pursuing a Family Law matter regarding children in another country in the Federal Court of Australia and suspected that the strategy of the other party was to milk you dry in legal fees in this jurisdiction before moving to get them transferred to the overseas jurisdiction at the last minute and force you to start all over again there, is it possible to launch actions simultaneously in both jurisdictions to pre-empt a last minute change? Would this prejudice the application in the Australian court in any other way?

If the other party participated in both jurisdictions and the outcomes were different which decision would take precedence?


Tracy B

Well-Known Member
24 December 2014
Hi Black Rabbit,

It depends what the action is. If it is for child custody, and the children are in another country, then it makes little sense to initiate an action in Australia. It would be more successful overseas, in that country. If the action is for child maintenance, and it is begun in more than one jurisdiction, you can easily bring an application to suspend the action because it is already being determined in another jurisdiction.

Courts will most likely suspend the action until the other court has made a decision. Then, the court probably won't decide the whole action again, but just look at recognition and enforceability matters. The benefit of this is that the decision can then be enforced in both jurisdictions. This is done when there are assets located in both jurisdictions and the successful party wants an interest on all these assets to successfully enforce the order.