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Jennifer Herbert outlines a recent divorce where she acted for the wife who resided in Dubai.
Jennifer represented Mrs S who was working and living in Dubai. Mr S was also working and living in Dubai. They had no children but did own a joint property in England which was registered and mortgaged in their joint names. Sadly, their relationship had broken down and they were keen to become divorced as soon as possible and resolve the matrimonial finances. Neither Mr nor Mrs S had any intention of returning to England in the immediate future, not even for a short holiday and thus all of the initial communications took place by Skype, email or phone.
Jennifer assisted Mrs S from the very beginning and obtained all of the information required from her during the Skype and phone calls. Mrs S was not required to personally attend our office or meet Jennifer in person throughout the entire divorce process. As a solicitor Jennifer has a duty to obtain identification for all of her client's and this was easily managed by Mrs S attending at a local firm in Dubai, with her I.D. documents and them being verified and sent to Jennifer for a small fee.
Mr S chose not to obtain separate independent legal advice, although he easily could have using another UK or Dubai based lawyer in the same way Mrs S had instructed Jennifer.
Where original documents were required to be signed by Mrs S and returned to Jennifer, these were couriered to Mrs S and then back to Jennifer. Most documents within divorce proceedings are now readily accepted with a scanned signature and thus the requirement for a wet signature has significantly diminished.
The Divorce application was made and as both Mr and Mrs S were in agreement about the reason for the divorce no court appearance was required in this case. If a court hearing had been necessary this could have been facilitated by telephone or video link meaning that neither party would have had to return to the UK, of course they could have done so if they wished to attend at court in person. The issued Divorce application was personally served upon Mr S by a local process server but could have also been couriered directly to him. The benefit of personally serving him meant that if he failed to respond Mrs S could, with evidence of service from the process server, push forwards with the divorce without further involvement from Mr S.
The Divorce proceeded uncontested and a financial agreement was reached between the parties, with Jennifer's assistance, after a period of negotiation via email and phone. The agreement was set out in a financial remedy consent order and signed by both parties, returned to Jennifer and submitted to the court. The agreement provided that the jointly owned property would be retained by Mrs S, transferred to her sole name and she would pay a sum of money to Mr S.
Pinney Talfourd's Conveyancing team were also able to assist in this transaction without the parties having to return to England.
The original Decree Absolute document, which is required at the end of any divorce to prove a persons' newly divorced status was couriered to Mrs S so that she had this in Dubai to show the authorities.
In this particular case Mr and Mrs S were divorced within a period of 9 months and neither of them where required to leave Dubai to effect the Divorce. They therefore saved significant time and money and obtained a legally binding divorce, recognised both here and in Dubai.
If you would like to find out more about international and UK divorces please contact our Family Team.
The above is meant to be only advice and is correct as of the time of posting. This article was written by Jennifer Herbert, Senior Associate in the Family Law Team at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of June 2020.