International Divorce Solicitors
You can’t help who you fall in love with, and with international travel making our global community closer than ever, marrying a person of another nationality is reasonably common. It’s simple to tie the knot, but UK family law and international divorce can be stressful and confusing for couples who want to formalise their separation.
Divorce: The UK and the EU
You do not have to petition for a divorce in the same country you married in. The first thing you should do if a divorce is imminent is to engage the services of family law solicitors who specialise in international divorce. It’s hard to overestimate the importance of acting quickly as the European country where the proceedings are filed initially is the country where the divorce will take place.
Brussels II is an EU law relating to family law including divorce and the custody of children. It states that a person can start a divorce in an EU member state (except Denmark) when either:
- Both parties habitually live there
- Both used to live there, and one still does
- The respondent (the legal spouse of the person asking for the divorce) usually lives there
- The petitioner (the person who initiates the divorce) normally lives there and has done so for at least a year
- Both parties are a national of that country
Acting quickly is essential as the country where the divorce proceedings are first started is the country where it will be heard. You may file for divorce in France, but if your ex-spouse has filed in England the previous day and it meets the necessary criteria, your divorce will be finalised in England. The exception to this is if the conditions for divorce, such as a separation period, have not been met in England, in which case the petition will be rejected, and you can start a new process in France.
There can be hugely significant implications to your divorce settlement depending on the country where it is filed, so the importance of contacting family law solicitors who specialise in international divorce as early as possible is crucial.
Forum shopping is the term used for looking at different countries to see which of those where you are eligible for divorce will benefit you most. Aspects to consider are whether prenuptial agreements are binding (if you have one), who the financial settlement and interim payments are likely to favour, and custody and access arrangements for children. Also consider whether you meet the grounds for divorce, how long it takes, and how enforceable any outcomes of your divorce will be. Your international divorce solicitor can help you choose where to start your divorce.
There are also differences in between the member countries of the UK you need to be aware of before filing for divorce. Scotland, for example, does not consider any assets each party held before their marriage when deciding settlement, only “matrimonial property” which are assets acquired during the marriage
Divorce in a Non-EU Country
You can file for divorce in a Non-EU country if one or both of you are nationals there, but it will depend on which country has the strongest connection for you both.
A small mistake in international divorce can have long-term ramifications for you so always seek family law advice from a specialist as soon as you are considering separation from your spouse.
Why work with us?
We will explain the process clearly and keep you informed about what is happening at each stage.
Transparent with costs
We offer a cost effective solution that's tailored to your situation; and we will provide clear information about the costs.
Advice from top solicitors
You will be assigned to an expert solicitor who will give you the best advice and compassion at this sensitive time.
Expert family law solicitors working for you
At The Family Law Experts, we work with specialist solicitors in all aspects of divorce, matrimonial, family and childcare law.
We offer an expert approach at a personal level for all our legal support. When dealing with family issues and family legal problems, our aim is to deal with each case in the least confrontational way possible, whilst still achieving the best results for our clients. We understand that when family issues arise and family relationships break down, real lives are affected, and the need for expert legal help and support is essential.