We regularly act in divorce cases with an international dimension, and represent clients across the world who are seeking to divorce under English law. If you are an Estonian living in the UK or you or your spouse have a connection to Estonia – perhaps you were married there – you should be aware of some of the specifics of Estonian divorce and family law as your final divorce settlement could be affected. We outline some of the key areas of Estonian divorce law below.

Joint Property And The Estonian Family Law Act, 2010

Family law in Estonia underwent a major shift with the 2010 Family Law Act (the FLA). The legislation promoted the idea that husbands and wives should take responsibility for the way they held property together. When a couple applies for a marriage licence in Estonia they also have the opportunity to choose the marital property regime they want, choosing between:

  • A joint property approach which will result in close financial ties
  • A set-off regime which allows for greater financial separation whilst at the same time affording a certain degree of protection for the financially weaker spouse
  • Complete separation of property
  • A formal, bespoke agreement similar to a prenuptial agreement

When a couple divorce, property is divided in accordance with whatever regime the couple opted for when they married.

What About Spousal Maintenance Payments In Estonia?

If, following the divorce, one parent is unable to maintain him or herself because of childcare commitments then he or she is entitled to maintenance until the child reaches the age of three.

A divorced spouse can also seek maintenance on the basis of his or her age or state of health. Such payments can continue for as long as the spouse receiving the payments is unable to work.

Child Arrangements Following Estonian Divorce

Usually following an Estonian divorce parents will retain joint custody of children (minors) and parental responsibility is unaffected.

Parents are encouraged to agree who the child should live with and to what extent the other parent should be involved in the child’s upbringing. Parents should also try to reach an agreement on child maintenance – the amount and the duration for which it should be paid, (however note that there is also a general obligation for parents to maintain children in full time education up to the age of 21).

If the parents can’t agree on child arrangements it’s open to either of them to apply to the court for sole custody.

What Are The Grounds For Divorce In Estonia?

A divorce can be obtained from a registry office or a notary if both spouses agree. Both spouses must reside in Estonia.

A divorce will also be granted where one spouse applies on the basis that ‘conjugal relations’ have definitively ended. This means cohabitation has ended and there is no prospect of a reconciliation.)

If the couple has been living separately for more than two years the courts will presume that conjugal relations have ended. A registry office or a notary may grant a divorce by mutual agreement between the spouses on the basis of a joint written application and if both spouses reside in Estonia.

Getting Advice On Estonian Family Law

If there is an Estonian element to your divorce, it may be important to understand the interplay between English and Estonian law and how your divorce may be affected. Here at Brookman we fully understand these cross-border issues and can provide advice on any particular obstacles you may face, including what to do if your spouse issues divorce proceedings before you.

Even if we have not had direct experience in a particular country, such as Estonia, our expertise in dealing with a variety of legal systems across the world gives us the ability to deal effectively with the rules and regulations whatever the jurisdiction.

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Divorce Videos

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

International Divorce

Watch Henry Brookman summarise divorce and common divorce myths.

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Henry Brookman Discusses: Divorce
Henry Brookman Discusses: Common Divorce Myths

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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.


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’.


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.


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.


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.


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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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 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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