Financial Remedy after Foreign Divorce

In some circumstances it is possible to apply for financial orders from the Family Court in England and Wales, even where the divorce itself has taken place overseas.

This area of family law is complex and can also be affected by Brexit where EU member countries are involved, so it is vital to seek expert advice.

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The law in relation to financial remedy after foreign divorce is designed to assist those with a connection to England and Wales where the country in which they divorced did not allow for any, or adequate, financial orders to be made. It can also assist where the original country’s laws do not provide for orders to be made in respect of foreign property, or in respect of a foreign pension.

Applications are made pursuant to Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984. Successful applications must satisfy the following requirements:

  • The overseas divorce must be recognised as valid in England and Wales; and
  • The applicant must not have remarried.

In addition, permission is required from the Family Court before the application can proceed.

The Family Court

Whether or not the court will have jurisdiction to deal with a Part III application will depend on whether a sufficient connection to England and Wales can be shown.

This jurisdictional requirement can be satisfied in one of three ways:-

  1. Either person being domiciled in England and Wales at the time of the application for permission, or being domiciled in England and Wales at the time of the foreign divorce.

 

  1. Either person being habitually resident in England and Wales for a period of at least one year at the time of the application for permission, or being habitually resident in England and Wales for a period of at least one year at the time of the foreign divorce.

 

  1. Either of the parties having an interest in a property in England and Wales at the time of the application for permission, provided that property was also the family home at some point in the marriage (N.B. if jurisdiction is satisfied by this third point only, then the range of available financial orders is much more limited).

At both the permission stage, and during the main proceedings, the Family Court has a duty to consider the appropriateness of making financial orders. Various factors will be taken into account, including the extent of the connection the parties have to England and Wales. Provided the threshold is met, then the same orders that could be made in respect of a domestic divorce and financial application may be made.

Seek Specialist Advice

This area of family law is complicated, and it is also affected by Brexit where EU member countries are involved.

To find out more about financial remedy after foreign divorce, speak to one of our family law experts on 0161 969 3131 or fill in our contact form and one of the team will be in touch.

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