International Family Law

Introduction to International Family Law:

(Last updated: April 2013) Marguerite C. Smith
Flexx Law, PS, Bellevue, WA

Note: As with all aspects of this site, these materials are not intended to provide legal advice. An attorney should be consulted. 

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 a former Co-Chair of the American Bar Association International Law Section Family Law Committee and former Chair of the King County Washington International Law Section; She is a 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 Bellevue, Washington where she provides services for both her local and internationally located clients.


In this section you will find a discussion of some of the 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 new hardback edition is expected in the year 2021. The last was 2013). For more recent publications visit the online version: This covers the law in over 31 jurisdictions across the globe as well as some in the USA. I am one of the international authors (the Washington State chapter). 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.


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.