They will ensure you are guided and supported during this difficult process. The size and strength of our divorce team enables us to take immediate legal action if or when necessary, including making immediate Court applications, particularly where there are jurisdictional issues.
Did you know that if you or your spouse, or indeed both of you are living overseas, our family lawyers can still help you divorce using the English Courts, and you may not even have to return to the country?
There are many reasons why a family may move abroad; work commitments, family ties or just the pull of a warmer climate. Whatever the reason behind it, families are certainly becoming more global. If you leave the country and set up home elsewhere, this does not mean that you cannot rely on the English Courts to resolve your matrimonial problems.
Under English law, you can divorce here providing you meet one or more of the following criteria:
You and your spouse are habitually resident here;
Your spouse is habitually resident here;
You and your spouse were last habitually resident here and one of you still resides here;
You are habitually resident here and you have resided here for at least 12 months immediately before your application for Divorce is made;
You are domiciled and habitually resident here and you have resided here for at least 6 months immediately before your application for Divorce is made;
You and your spouse are both domiciled here; or
You OR your spouse are domiciled here.
Habitual residence simply means where you are currently living or regularly live and intend to settle and remain for a significant period of time.
Domicile has different meanings in different countries but under English law everyone must have a domicile and can only have one country of domicile at any one time. This simply means the country you consider to be your permanent home. Just because you leave your home does not necessarily mean you lose your domicile. A person can only have one domicile at any one time and cannot be without a domicile. Domicile is not the same as residence or nationality. This is a complex area of English law and there are many different types of domicile, but you can most certainly be habitually resident in one country and domiciled in another.
In many international family cases spouses will be nationals of different countries or living separate in different countries. It is therefore possible for Divorce proceedings to be commenced in more than one country. If a Divorce application is made in another country first this does not necessarily prevent and application for Divorce being made in England and Wales also. If this situation arises the English court has discretion to stay (suspend) the application for Divorce made here until the proceedings in the other country have concluded, but this will usually only happen if the court considers that the other country is the more appropriate place for the Divorce.
We would always advise clients to take early legal advice from the other country/countries where there are possible competing jurisdictions for Divorce.
Financial claims arising upon divorce tend to be of the greatest concern for most couples; it is, therefore, important to get jurisdiction secured by instigating the divorce proceedings, as explained above, before the Court can determine these claims. The Courts of England and Wales can make a wide range of orders relating to property, capital lump sums, maintenance and pensions. Our Courts are globally known for their focus on fairness, equality and meeting the families, in particular the children’s, needs.
It is possible, in some circumstances, to pursue and application for financial remedy here in England and Wales following and overseas Divorce, but the procedure is slightly different and the Orders that the Court can make are limited.
Our specialist divorce lawyers are recognised in Tier 1 Legal 500 and are highly experienced in representing clients based overseas and are more than happy to facilitate Zoom, Teams and telephone conferences for ease. We have represented many clients on divorce where there are international properties or assets to consider. We have worked with clients from many European countries and places further afield, such as the UAE, Russia, US and the Far East.
International Divorce FAQs
Yes, providing your situation meets one or more of the criteria listed at 1 to 7 above.
The English Court system will be familiar to most English/Welsh citizens; it uses the English language meaning that documents will not have to be translated for you. It is well equipped to deal with overseas divorces, dealing with several on a day to day basis and may be able to determine your dispute without you having to leave your overseas country. Some of the other benefits are:
Easily accessible; and
Some cases can be dealt with entirely online
The Divorce process itself remains the same for International Divorces as domestic Divorces. There may be additional service requirements depending on which country your spouse is living in at the time of the Divorce which could mean slight delay and increase to your legal costs, but the court process and court fee remains the same. The court fee for issuing a Divorce Application is currently £593.00.
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