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International Divorce

From one country to another, the length of time a divorce takes and its financial implications can vary significantly. Yet most people assume they must get a divorce in the country they live in or where they married. Sometimes when people have dual nationality they assume that they can choose as they please. This is not the case, and making the wrong decision about where and how to get divorced could, in some instances, mean the difference between the process taking years rather than months and mean you are left counting the cost.

Once you have made your decision, you may then be committed to deal with a whole range of other issues according to the law of the country you have chosen. Remember, you only get one chance when filing for divorce, so it’s important you make the right choices at the beginning. Brookman has been a leading expert in international divorce for many years, and we take great care in guiding our clients through the process to achieve the best outcome for them.

We are specialist international divorce lawyers and family solicitors and we advise clients who are either UK-based but originate from another country, or are living outside of the UK but have a connection with England or Wales.

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We handle cases with connections all over the world, including:

Europe & European Union Canada and USA
India and Pakistan China, Japan and wider Asia
Africa & South Africa Australia and New Zealand
Middle East and Persian Gulf Central and South America

 

International Divorce: Financial Settlements

Different countries have very different financial outcomes in divorce. The UK is known to be flexible when it comes to division of property and spousal maintenance, whereas some countries work to fixed rules such as a percentage of the main earner’s income. Many have very restrictive rules. This range of approaches taken by different countries means that getting the jurisdiction right at the beginning is absolutely crucial. However, it is worth remembering that a court order is only effective in the county that made it. There may or may not be ways to enforce it elsewhere and it is important to consider this in advance. If the financial assets are elsewhere, the spouse may in some cases have a problem getting their share, so it’s always wise to seek legal advice to understand your options.

 

Children In International Divorce

Western countries have two primary principles with regard to children during a divorce:

  • The welfare of the child is paramount and is assessed on a case-by-case basis
  • The courts of the child’s country of ‘habitual residence’ are best placed to decide maters.

Complications often arise. For instance, a wife of a separated couple might want to take their children back to the UK from the marital home in continental Europe. However, as the children reside outside of the UK, the local courts should determine custody, but the current waiting time for such cases in some European Union countries is three years. In this situation, there may be an option to seek ‘temporary’ permission to leave the country until the final hearing.

 

What About Prenuptial Agreements And International Divorce?

In many parts of continental Europe and North America, premarital choice of law agreements or pre-nuptial agreements (‘prenups’) are often automatically enforceable if the parties divorce. Although prenups are not automatically binding in England, a judge is now likely to take a prenup into account. Various safeguards apply.

 

Why Do People Use UK Courts For International Divorce?

English divorce courts are usually in high demand from individuals based overseas. For British expats, there is the attraction of a familiar legal system and language. And although Family Courts in general face pressure, divorcing in England and Wales can, depending on the circumstances of your case, still be relatively efficient. Brookman are aware of the administrative pressures on a day-to-day basis and constantly seek the most efficient paths to a solution.

In addition, courts in London and other main British legal centres are known for their impartiality, incorruptibility, and determination to maintain “a level playing field” so that a litigant cannot use influence to assist their way to a favourable judgement. This explains why so many individuals go to great lengths to secure the UK as the decision-making venue for their divorce.

 

Take A Wise First Step

It is reported that approximately 15 per cent of UK marriages have a foreign element and that probably is true across much of the developed world. The impact that a jurisdiction can have on the divorce process, child custody and financial settlements can’t be underestimated. If you would like to discuss these issues before starting the divorce process please call us on +44 (0) 20 7430 8470 or enquire online now.

 

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What our clients are saying:

‘AS’, London

Thank you is a very small word (or two) to relay my gratitude for all your help in getting me through this divorce… You have been patient, thoughtful and understanding at all times… You were my solicitor but now you are my friend.


Google Reviews

Brookman Solicitors

67 Reviews

Jen Ade 23/07/2020

I had an initial consultation and Henry was well prepared. He gave great advice and followed through quite quickly. He was very helpful.

Chris Mullins 15/07/2020

Henry and team were most professional, considerate and efficient when handling the financial proceedings owing to my overseas divorce. I recommend their services highly. International circumstance was at first to me most daunting and confusing, given each country had its' own unique approach. Thankfully Henry was knowledgeable of the law on either side of the seas and able therefore to provide best guidance and reasoning to me which enabled favourable settlement!

Wim Jansen 24/06/2020

I contacted Brookman to ask for information regarding the validity of an international divorce court ruling. They were very quick in providing me with the right information. When I had another question a few months later around children matters I phoned them again and after taking some background information and contact details they booked me in for a free telephone consultation with 1 of their partners Talitha Brookman. She spent half an hour of her time explaining to me what I could expect and provided legal advice. All was free of charge. I would not hesitate to contact them again should any matter become more formal and have to go through court. The service has been quick, professional and very friendly.

Rebecca Brown 01/06/2020

Highly recommend this firm. Having searched around different firms for advice for some time, I had a free consultation with Henry Brookman. He was incredibly knowledgeable about my complex situation, gave straightforward advice and empowered me to understand exactly how I need to proceed.

Nik Carter 10/05/2020

I recently had a free initial consultation with Henry Brookman via video conference. He was considered and meticulous in his approach and gave me well thought through advice. He followed this up with a letter in writing summarising the advice he gave me. I would thoroughly recommend his services to anyone looking for legal representation in a divorce.