International Divorce & Family Law: Barbados

With its colonial past and history of membership of the Commonwealth, Barbados and the courts there are still influenced to a degree by English law and custom. The country also draws on the legal traditions of other Commonwealth countries such as Australia when deciding family law matters.

A strong connection remains between Barbados and the UK. Many Barbadians choose to settle in the UK, a steady number of UK tourists get married on the island and many other UK nationals reside there.

The interaction between the legal systems of the two countries can sometimes lead to complications when an individual with connections to Barbados is considering divorce. We act for UK citizens who may have been married in Barbados or who are living there and wish to divorce under English law. We also act for Barbadians and others with a connection to the country but resident in the UK who need advice on international aspects of divorce law.

We discuss some specific aspects of family law in Barbados below.

Grounds For Divorce In Barbados

To obtain a divorce in Barbados it’s necessary to demonstrate that:

  • The marriage has irretrievably broken down
  • Spouses have been separated for at least a year
  • Appropriate child arrangements are in place

If the court believes there is a reasonable prospect of reconciliation it will not grant a divorce.

Financial Settlements Folowing Barbadian Divorce

Section 53(2) of the Family Law Act deals with maintenance and the factors the court takes into account when determining the amount of any payment. Some of these echo the Matrimonial Causes Act ‘section 25 factors’ applicable under English law. The legislation is also influenced by the laws applicable in Commonwealth jurisdictions like Australia.

The factors include:

  • Age and state of health of the spouses
  • Financial resources and possibility of employment
  • Responsibility for a child of the marriage
  • Financial needs
  • Eligibility of either party for a pension or other allowance

The way property is divided following a Barbadian divorce will depend on the court’s interpretation of  section 57 of the Family Law Act (‘alteration of property interests’). In the case of Proverbs v Proverbs (2002) Chief Justice Sir David Simmons set out the correct approach to take when deciding how to divide property on divorce. He indicated it involved a three-stage process as follows:

  • Identifying ALL property owned by the divorcing couple
  • Valuing the property (the date for valuation is the date of the court hearing)
  • Assessing the financial contribution made to the acquisition, conservation or improvement of the property by any party. Acting as a ‘homemaker’ and parent will be regarded as a contribution where appropriate.

Once each side’s contribution to the value of any property has been agreed the court will decide the division of assets using the factors in section 53(2) referred to above.

Children And Divorce In Barbados

In common with England and Wales the courts in Barbados will look at what is in the best interests of the child when deciding residence, contact and other arrangements. In doing so judges in Barbados will consider issues such as the age and sex of the child and the child’s compatibility with each parent.

In 2019 Barbados joined the Hague Convention on Child Abduction and the Convention on Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility Orders. This should make enforcing any child arrangements order form an English court for example more straightforward in Barbados than might have been the case in the past.

Advice On Divorce In Barbados

Any international divorce, including one with a Barbadian angle will involve crucial tactical decisions at the outset to ensure the most appropriate court hears the case.

We act for Barbadian nationals in the UK and British citizens with a connection to Barbados, advising them on all aspects of their divorce and related matters.

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Henry Brookman has created several discussion videos in order to further explain some areas of divorce.

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Henry Brookman Discusses: Divorce
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We are a specialist divorce and international divorce family law team, advising clients in the United Kingdom (specifically England and Wales) and throughout the world. We have a very people–orientated approach to working with clients. Henry Brookman has practised law for over 45 years, and our team has a wide range of skills and expertise. We are recommended by the Legal 500 and have been awarded the Law Society’s quality mark, Lexcel.

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Henry Brookman

With over 45 years' experience, Henry Brookman is the senior member of the team. He is described by The Legal 500 as ‘shrewd, savvy, sagacious and highly experienced’.

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Talitha Brookman

Talitha is a Partner in the firm and a very experienced practitioner. She has been exclusively practising family law for over 15 years and is a recognised expert in her field.

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Philip Morton

Recommended by The Legal 500, Philip is an expert in all areas of family law, including domestic and international financial disputes, fraud and commercial dispute resolution.

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Natasha Slabas

Expert in all areas of family law, often involving cases that have an international element, including work in relation to financial settlements following divorce.

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Aziz Malik

Aziz is a Partner at the firm and is highly regarded for his expertise on financial matters in divorce and has been recommended by the Legal 500.

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Kirsty Kelleher

Kirsty is a specialist family law solicitor recommended by The Legal 500. An expert in divorce, financial matters, child-related disputes and contentious probate cases.

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Kevin Danagher

Kevin specialises exclusively in family law, advising on all aspects of relationship breakdown, divorce, same sex marriage, marital agreements, and international family cases.

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Jennifer Douglas

Jennifer is a talented solicitor, experienced in all elements of family law, including high net worth financial proceedings, Children Act proceedings and financial claims.

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Gavin Yeung

Gavin has excellent experience in family law including divorce and financial proceedings and international child abduction proceedings involving Hague Convention countries.

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Pippa Marshall

Pippa’s experience covers all areas of family law including divorce, financial remedies, same sex relationships, pre- and post-nuptial agreements and cohabitee property disputes.

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Lorraine Imms

With over 20 years' family law experience, Lorraine can advise on divorce, matrimonial finances, cohabitee disputes, nuptial agreements and private children matters.

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Lorna Martin

Lorna is our Office Manager who oversees the operations of the firm including providing accounts support as well as secretarial support to the team.

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