International Divorce & Family Law: Mauritius
Mauritian family law is heavily influenced by the island’s French and British colonial past. Since independence the family and divorce laws have been amended several times in an effort to redress some of the inequality that previously existed in relation to property rights.
We represent people in the UK getting divorced who have some connection with Mauritius – they may have got married there for example or one spouse may be Mauritian. We also represent British people resident or domiciled in Mauritius who need advice on the international factors at play in their divorce.
Here we discuss some notable aspects of family and divorce law in Mauritius.
Grounds For Divorce In Mauritius
The Civil Code and the Civil Status Act, 1982 set out the law relating to divorce in Mauritius. The grounds are:
- By mutual agreement in marriages of more than two years’ duration
- Irretrievable breakdown
- Fault of one spouse
- Three years’ separation
One area of uncertainty concerns religious marriages that have not been registered with the civil authorities. A lack of regulation of solely religious marriages means spouses in in this type of union have little or no protection when it comes to financial clams or property rights.
To begin divorce proceedings in Mauritius you must be:
- A Mauritian citizen;
- A citizen when you married;
- Married to a Mauritian;
- Married in Mauritius; or
- Resident in Mauritius for more than 12 months
Financial Settlements And Mauritian Divorce
If you get divorced in Mauritius the courts will look at the financial regime that existed during your marriage. Under the Civil Code a community property regime will apply by default so that only property acquired after the marriage is jointly owned.
You and your spouse may choose a different regime for property ownership, including keeping all property separate. If you do decide to hold property separately you must have this choice formalised by deed.
Prenuptial agreements that may contain elements of both property regimes discussed above are common in Mauritius.
Your choice of property regime when you marry can only be changed after five years so any decision should be approached with caution. A separate property regime could lead to significant disadvantage for the financially weaker spouse on divorce.
Advice On Divorce In Mauritius
Where the courts of Mauritius and the UK could both potentially decide your divorce it’s important to get advice on which jurisdiction would be most appropriate for you. We act for UK nationals in Mauritius and Mauritian nationals in the UK, assessing the financial implications and the issues around child arrangements that may arise during your divorce.
Or call us: +44 (0)20 7430 8470