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Is There A Best Place To Divorce?  

Date: March 5th, 2017 - Written by: Brookman Solicitors

Is There A Best Place To Divorce

 

If you are caught up in the uncertainty created by marital breakdown you might think nowhere is a ‘good’ place to divorce. But many people go to great lengths to have their divorces settled in London. Recently the decree absolute was issued in Chai v Peng, better known perhaps as the Laura Ashley divorce because of the husband’s position as head of the group that owns the retail chain.

The case attracted widespread interest when it began because of arguments over jurisdiction. Debate over whether courts in Malaysia or London were the correct forum was long and relatively protracted.

There are several reasons why some people – often the financially weaker spouse – are prepared to spend so much time and money battling to ensure London courts decide the terms of their divorce:

  • In London judges have discretionary powers when making financial orders on divorce, including maintenance orders
  • Unlike many other jurisdictions where stricter formula exist to calculate financial outcomes, judges here are free to apply a series of factors in the way they feel is most appropriate in each case
  • In some cases judges in London and elsewhere in England and Wales will financially penalise a spouse who attempts to hide assets

How Do I Secure London As A Base For My Divorce?

If you want to issue a divorce petition in London you must meet one of the criteria set out under EU Law. These include:

  • Both you and your spouse are habitually resident here
  • Your spouse is habitually resident here
  • You are habitually resident here and have lived here for one year before the divorce petition
  • You are domiciled here and have lived here for at least six months prior to the petition
  • Both you and your spouse are domiciled here

In recent years London has become a favourite place for wealthy individuals from across the globe to settle down and make their home. The requirements listed above show that this kind of relocation opens the door for wealthy individuals who have lived here for some time to successfully issue divorce proceedings in London.

Jurisdiction Races

The way the rules on jurisdiction are framed means it is not uncommon for more than one country to potentially be able to decide all matters. If the choice is between two EU countries, the country in which the petition is first lodged will typically hear the case. This sometimes leads to what are known as ‘jurisdiction races’ where the space of a few hours could decide the location of the divorce proceedings.

What if a non-EU country is involved? This was the case in Chai v Peng.  When one party wishes to have proceedings held in London, the court will consider the balance of fairness (including convenience) between the two countries to establish where it would be most appropriate for the case to be heard. Often this involves a delicate balancing exercise. In Chai v Peng for example the judge concluded that  “the connecting factors to each jurisdiction pan out fairly equally, with a small bias in the wife’s favour”.

Given the sums involved in this particular case this narrow decision could mean the difference of millions of pounds to the overall settlement.

Jurisdiction is complicated and it’s often crucial to act quickly. If there are arguments over jurisdiction they are often finely balanced. If a jurisdiction race is likely, it is essential to instruct solicitors familiar with procedures in the relevant jurisdictions. As international divorce lawyers we are familiar with the nature of legal systems across the globe and can advise accordingly.

If you need advice on your divorce, please call + 44 (0)20 7430 8470 or contact us online.

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Joanne Chidwick 09/11/2020

I wanted to send a deeply personal thank you to Henry & the team at Brookman’s who have helped me through a very difficult time in my life. They have given me a truly personalised service & been incredibly sympathetic and supportive all the way through the process. I cannot thank them enough & would not hesitate in recommending them to others.

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Mr Brookman was very thorough, professional and spot on. He understood my requirements, the complexities of the case and has dealt with it superbly. I'm very pleased with the service provided. Thanks very much.

Mohamed Ashraf Rashid 16/09/2020

Divorce is not very easy and sometimes one doesn't know what to do but when you have the right people dealing with the matter than it makes it easier.

I was recommended to Henry and initially I was hesitant to use a lawyer for my divorce matter purely because of the costs but in certain circumstances, it is better to go for it. It may seem costly but one doesn't have a choice.

The initial appt gives one an opportunity to hear the lawyer out and then to ask questions relevant to one's case.

The service was great - Thank you

Yesima Hamid 04/09/2020

I want to highly commend Brookman Solicitors firm. I had the privilege of getting very thorough and sensible advice from their solicitor Jennifer Douglas. I don't have enough praise for her. She made me feel at ease and 'got me' and understood very well all the issues and her advice was on point. I felt she had my interest at heart in all the different matters. She was very accommodating and willing. She truly made a difference. She has great insight and I truly recommend her and the firm. They are very professional with the human touch.

Roohie Mahajan 16/08/2020

I am so happy that I hired their services. I am from India and it was my international divorce case. My ex husband is in the UK. I had a free telephone conversation with Henry Brookman and I was so satisfied that without even meeting him I was so confident. My case was handled in the best way possible.

He is probably the one of the best lawyers in the world. He is extremely competent, professional, intelligent and empathetic. The only lawyer who genuinely work to help you rather than making money. He is a very experienced lawyer and he saved me so much money. He is so calm and kind towards his approach. He is the most genuine person I have come across.

I just came to London once to attend my hearing. My husband and his solicitors made it so complicated. My ex husband has to spend double the amount of legal fees than me. This is the difference between hiring a good experienced lawyer. Their fees might be expensive but good lawyer will make you save money at the end. Finally at the end I won the case and my husband has to pay all my legal fees without me travelling to the UK. I will always be eternally grateful to Henry Brookman and Brookman Solicitors. I am falling short of words to praise them.

I highly recommend their services. Keep up the good work.