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Saika Alam Partner - Head of Family Law

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International divorce FAQ

  • Do you have to get divorced in the country in which you were married if you got married abroad?

    No in most cases so long as your marriage is recognised by the English Court, and you can establish a connection with England (or Wales).

  • How do you establish a connection with England or Wales?

    To apply for a divorce through an English Court you will need to find out if the English Court has the right and power to deal with your case. That right and power is called “jurisdiction.” You cannot just pick the country where the law seems most advantageous to you and start your divorce proceedings there. You will need to show that the country of your choice has the jurisdiction to deal with your divorce.

    The rules for establishing jurisdiction in England can be complicated and they relate to being a national of this country, being habitually resident in this country or being domiciled here.


  • How to decide which country to divorce in

    If you can get divorced in more than one country because you can establish jurisdiction in more than one country, which country you apply for a divorce in will depend upon the following:

    • The types of financial orders that the Court can make in your favour – the Courts in England are usually more flexible.
    • How easy it is to enforce Court orders made by one country in another country.
    • The length of time it might take to get divorced and deal with children’s issues and financial matters and the costs involved.

    If there is more than one country that you can divorce in, the Court will usually decide sometimes as a first step if you have a strong enough connection to get divorced in that country. If there is disagreement between your spouse or civil partner and yourself over which country to get divorced in, you could end up with divorce applications in two different countries. This is known as a “forum dispute.” Forum disputes are lengthy and expensive. You would need to consider very carefully whether the benefit of pursuing a divorce in England, for example, was worth the fight. We can advise and guide you on these very important decisions and provide robust representation on any forum dispute that you choose to pursue through an English Court.


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