International 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.

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.

If you anticipate that your divorce or civil partnership dissolution will involve an international aspect, it is crucial that you instruct a divorce lawyer with experience in advising on important additional factors, such as tax considerations and different procedural requirements.

Inevitably such considerations can, without the expertise of an experienced solicitor, make your divorce more time-consuming and potentially much more costly.

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The Family Court

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.

Navigating International Divorce

Due to the complexities of navigating another country’s legal system, it is vital that you seek legal advice from a family lawyer with experience in dealing with divorce cases involving international issues.

The experts in our family law team have a wealth of experience in international divorce proceedings and are extremely knowledgeable in respect of the key issues of domicile, habitual residence, and foreign-held assets.

Within our team we have a specialist in international divorce and family law proceedings, Dorota Beange. Our family law experts have dealt with complex international matters involving a significant number of other countries, including:

  • Spain
  • Dubai
  • USA
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • France
  • Pakistan
  • Nigeria

International Divorce Proceedings

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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 in the international landscape.

Related Services

Child Arrangements

Making child arrangements during an international divorce can be complicated. We will work with you to ensure that the needs of the child are met and your rights as a parent are respected.

Divorce Solicitors

Our experienced family law solicitors have extensive experience managing all aspects of the divorce process.

Meet your Family Law Specialists

Talk to one of our team
members on 0161 969 3131