International divorce can be complex
Many divorce cases have an international element and there are a number of factors that can make an international divorce complex. The law on divorce does vary from country to country so it is really important that you get legal advice from a lawyer who is an expert in divorce law in that country.
Where you take your divorce proceedings will have an impact on any financial settlement. Once divorce proceedings have been commenced in one country, the financial decisions in your case will usually also be dealt with by that country. In some quite specific cases where you have obtained a financial order in a country abroad it may be possible to make a further application to an English Court for a financial “top up” order, if you have assets in England or Wales and if you can demonstrate to the English Court that the financial provision made for you abroad was inadequate.
If you have children, then you will both have to agree on the movement of those children between countries. In the absence of any agreement, you will need to know what your rights are and how you can apply to a Court in England for an order allowing you to take your children abroad. This is called a relocation application.
If your children have been taken abroad from England without your permission, then you will need to take urgent action through the Court to seek their return. The removal of children to another country without the consent of the other parent is usually treated as an abduction and abducted children can often be returned fairly swiftly if the other country has signed up to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
At Branch Austin McCormick we understand the importance of early legal advice in what can be a fast- moving scenario. For example, an urgent Court application might be required to freeze assets to prevent them from being moved abroad.
We work with lawyers across the world to ensure that you make the best decisions for you and your family at the earliest opportunity. We help you make decisions on the best place to divorce if you have the option to divorce in more than one country.
Even if your divorce proceedings and financial matters are dealt with through an English Court you might have property or other assets abroad and we can liaise with family lawyers abroad to ensure that your financial settlement takes account of all assets at home and abroad.
If your children have been taken abroad without your permission, time is of the essence and we can move quickly with any Court applications that might be necessary through the English court.
Our lawyers have a broad range of experience to advise and assist on the added complication that comes from a divorce case with an international element.
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.
At Branch Austin McCormick we can explain to you in detail what these terms mean and if they apply to you.
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.
At Branch Austin McCormick, we can give you detailed advice on the above and we would always encourage you to take legal advice on these matters from a lawyer in the other country in which you have the option to divorce.
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.
Memberships and Accreditations
Our family lawyers are members of the national family justice organisation, Resolution, which promotes a constructive and cost-effective approach to family law issues — and that’s why we also have divorce and family law solicitors who are qualified as collaborative practitioners so that we can offer you Collaborative Family Law.
This allows us to work together with other collaboratively trained divorce and family law solicitors to find solutions for your family without Court intervention.
We also have experts who are Law Society Accredited and on the Law Society’s Family Law Advanced Panel. Where family law disputes cannot be resolved through negotiation and agreement, we take a firm and proactive approach to court proceedings. It is this experience and outlook that makes us stand out from the crowd.
If you would like to find out more about how our team of specialist family and divorce lawyers based in London can support you then please get in touch.
You can book a complimentary 30 minutes consultation session with our friendly and knowledgeable Head of Family Law, Saika Alam. In the session, Saika will learn more about the challenges that you are facing and talk through how we can help.
We understand that it is so important that you get to speak to your divorce and family lawyer before you make any kind of commitment to use them. You need to get to know your divorce and family lawyer as much as we need to get to know you. That is why we do not make a charge for your initial consultation with us.
Saika Alam has provided me with invaluable advice in relation to matrimonial matters during the last few years. I have valued her patient, client-centred approach and ability to remain calm in the face of adversity. I would highly recommend her.
Saika Alam is the only person I would ever go to. She has always advised me in the most professional and honest way possible. She works in a way that makes you feel comfortable and you feel you are in good hands. I have referred so many people to her and will continue to do so.
I highly recommend Saika as she is professional, approachable and does a fantastic job achieving realistic positive results.
Saika Alam Head of Family Law
+44 (0) 20 7851 0110