Many people choose to divorce under English law even if they live abroad or were married overseas. Not knowing your options can be a costly mistake: The length of time it takes to divorce and the financial implications vary significantly from country to country.
Sometimes people with dual nationality assume they can freely choose which country to divorce in. This isn’t the case. 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 leave you counting the cost.
Once you have made your decision about where to divorce, you’ll be obliged to deal with all 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 choice at the beginning. Brookman is a leading, expert law firm having handled international divorce cases for many years. We take great care in guiding our clients through the process to achieve the best possible outcome.
We are specialist international divorce lawyers and family solicitors. We advise clients who are either UK-based but originate from another country, or those living outside of the UK with a connection to England or Wales.
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
Countries around the world have very different approaches to financial settlements on divorce. The UK is known to be flexible when it comes to division of property and spousal maintenance. In contrast some countries work to fixed rules such as a percentage of the main earner’s income. Other countries or jurisdictions have very restrictive rules. These variations in approach by different countries means that getting the jurisdiction right at the beginning is absolutely crucial. It’s also worth remembering that a court order is only effective in the county that made it. There may or may not be ways to enforce the ruling elsewhere and it is important to consider this in advance. If, for example financial assets awarded to one spouse are located elsewhere, that spouse may in some cases have a problem getting what he or she is entitled to. It’s always wise therefore to seek legal advice at the outset so you 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 matters.
Complications often arise. For instance, a wife of a separated couple might want to take her children back to the UK from the marital home in continental Europe. However, as the children reside outside of the UK, the local courts are the ones who should determine residence., However the current waiting time for such cases in some European 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 is 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 unfairly influence the final judgement. This explains why so many individuals go to great lengths to secure the UK as the decision-making venue for their divorce.
Taking The First Step: Contact Us
Figures show that approximately 15 per cent of UK marriages have a foreign element. That’s probably 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 contact us.
Or call us: +44 (0)20 7430 8470