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Introduction to International Family Law:

INTERNATIONAL FAMILY LAW

(Last updated: April 2013) Marguerite C. Smith

Flexx Law, PS, Seattle, WA

maggie@flexxlaw.com

Note: These materials are not intended to provide legal advice. References to laws outside of WA State are for issue spotting discussion only and are not to be considered as legal advice on non -WA laws. The reader is advised to seek advice and check all references to law by a lawyer who is admitted to practice and practices in the country/state at issue, taking into consideration the facts of a given case. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (Abbreviated bio)

Marguerite (Maggie) Smith is Co-Chair of the American Bar Association International Law Section Family Law Committee; Chair of the King County Washington International Law Section; Member of the Bars of Washington State; Minnesota; District of Columbia and England and Wales. For many years she has been a frequent presenter both locally (WA and USA) and globally on international family law issues. She has authored and co-authored many publications on international family law including, European Lawyer Reference Family Law Jurisdictional Comparisons, (WA Section); The International Family Law Section of the Washington State Bar Family Law Desk Book as well as legal periodicals. She currently practices in Seattle Washington where she provides services for both her local and internationally located clients.

INTRODUCTION

Below is a study of some important international family law issues. Emphasis is placed on Washington State’s approach to international law although there are references to other jurisdictions in the areas of same sex relationships and premarital and marital agreements.  For further information on international family law, the reader may wish to review The European Lawyer Reference Family Law Jurisdictional Comparisons published by Thompson Reuters (a 2011 edition is in the K.C law library; the 2013 edition will be published sometime after June this year).This covers the law in 31 jurisdictions across the globe as well as some in the USA. I am one of the 31 international authors. Another reference source is the WSBA Family Law Desk Book, International Law Section which I have co-authored. Other international family books can be found through such organizations as ABA.

SELECTING THE RIGHT ATTORNEY

Care should be taken to select an attorney who is experienced in international family law. The client should ask about experience, publications and the extent of the attorney’s involvement in international professional organizations. Note: typically mere membership may not be enough to indicate ability and knowledge.