International Divorce

Solicitors in Essex & London


Did you know that if you or your spouse, or indeed both of you are living overseas, our family law solicitors 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.

If you and/or your spouse live abroad, you may still be able to use the English courts to divorce. In some cases, it is not even necessary for you or your spouse to be physically present in England during the divorce proceedings, and you may never have to attend at the court personally. Our family law team have a number of divorce solicitors who specialise in overseas divorce and can assist further.

Under English law, you can divorce here providing you meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Both you and your spouse are habitually resident in England or Wales; or
  • Your spouse is habitually resident in England or Wales; or
  • You were both last habitually resident in England or Wales and one of you continues to reside here; or
  • You are habitually resident in England or Wales and have been living here for at least one year immediately before the divorce application is issued; or
  • You and your spouse are both domiciled in England or Wales.

If none of the above criteria is applicable, you may still be able to use the English courts to divorce, but only if no other court in an EU contracting state has jurisdiction AND if either you or your spouse are domiciled in England and Wales. However, relying on sole domicile alone will mean there are limitations on the financial claims the court can deal with. You are advised to speak to one of our international divorce experts when establishing if you meet these criteria. 

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 over the world 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. 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.

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 are able to make a wide range of orders relating to property, capital lump sums, maintenance and pensions.

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 Skype, FaceTime or 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 and the United States.

Our family law department includes members of the Law Society’s Family Panel and Advanced Family Panel, accredited Resolution specialists and Collaborative Family Lawyers. All ten of our team are members of Resolution.

Book A Free Initial Family Consultation

  

Find out more with a free initial International Divorce consultation

We understand that speaking to a solicitor for the first time about any issue relating to the dissolution and breakdown of a marriage can be a difficult and daunting experience, especially if you are currently residing abroad. One of our family lawyers who specialises in overseas divorce will be happy to discuss matters with you further in a free 30-minute initial meeting to provide you with some general advice.*

*Free appointments are only available at our main offices in Upminster, Brentwood and Hornchurch and are not available in cases where proceedings have been issued.

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