International Divorce Solicitors
Divorce and separation can be emotionally challenging and overwhelming for all involved. The already daunting process can be exacerbated when the divorce involves an international element. Our international divorce solicitors have a wealth of experience advising clients facing international and cross-border divorce. We will guide you through the process, providing straightforward, comprehensive advice and support every step of the way.
What Is An International Divorce?
Any separation involving one or both parties with connections outside the UK can be an ‘international divorce’. You might be ex-pats living abroad or non-UK citizens living here. You may have relocated permanently, or the move may be temporary, for personal reasons or due to employment opportunities.
The international aspects of a separation can have a considerable impact on the divorce proceedings and their outcome. Most notably, they can dictate the country in which the divorce should be initiated and, accordingly, the applicable law.
What Do UK International Divorce Lawyers Do?
If your divorce includes an international element, you should take advice from solicitors with specialist experience in international divorce as soon as you begin contemplating a legal separation. International divorce solicitors understand the issues involved in such proceedings and are ideally placed to act quickly and decisively to protect your interests.
The first step our international divorce lawyers will take is to ascertain which country has jurisdiction over your divorce. Where you were married is irrelevant in this regard. Generally speaking, the country with jurisdiction is decided by the parties’ nationality, their domicile or where they habitually reside. ‘Domicile’ and ‘habitually reside’ are legally defined concepts requiring the consideration and application of specific rules and criteria.
The rules are complex and can sometimes result in a situation whereby a couple has a choice of jurisdiction. If, for example, the parties are deemed to ‘habitually reside’ in two separate countries, divorce proceedings may be issued in either. This is a crucial element of international divorce and can dramatically affect the outcome because different countries have different divorce laws and procedures. The Courts of some tend to be kinder to financially weaker parties, whereas others protect the wealthier party’s interests. Judges in England, for example, have a greater degree of discretion when dividing a couple’s financial assets than some of their foreign counterparts. They are often viewed as exercising that discretion in favour of the less affluent party. As a result, England is often the forum of choice for the financially weaker partner in a divorce.
When a couple has a choice of forum, the country in which proceedings are first issued will often take control. If that country’s laws and procedures favour your ex-partner, the impact can be far reaching and severe. You may discover that you are not entitled to the level of financial support you were expecting or be ordered to pay a higher level of maintenance than anticipated. In cases involving children, you may face proceedings before a Court with an obvious maternal or paternal bias resulting in an unfavourable decision regarding your child’s living arrangements or access rights.
Accordingly, some international divorce cases become a race to commence proceedings in the country whose divorce laws are more favourable to your circumstances. Our international divorce solicitors are well versed in taking resolute, urgent action when timing is critical. Our experience of international divorce enables us to get to the heart of a matter swiftly, identify the country whose divorce laws are likely to result in the best outcome for you, and then act accordingly.
If divorce proceedings have been commenced in a country whose laws are more favourable to your ex-partner’s situation than yours, all is not lost. In some cases, there may be scope to dispute that country’s jurisdiction. Further, in limited circumstances, the English Courts can overrule the financial arrangements ordered by a foreign Court. Our international divorce solicitors will consider your circumstances and advise on the likelihood of them doing so in your case. We can also assist if you need to enforce Orders made in foreign divorce proceedings through the English Courts, such as those relating to financial maintenance.
Our International Divorce Lawyers In The UK
We understand international divorce. Our international divorce lawyers in the UK regularly advise and support clients based in the UK and around the world in all aspects of international and cross-border divorce proceedings. If you are based outside the UK, we can meet with you virtually to minimise your costs and travelling time.
We are proud to be noted not only for our outstanding legal expertise but also for our human touch. We give first-class legal advice with the appropriate degree of empathy and support. We aim to keep costs to a minimum and will always identify the most cost-effective way to achieve your goals.
Our firm policy is to take time to get to know our clients and their individual circumstances. In international divorce cases, we thoroughly analyse our client’s situation and identify the most suitable country to commence divorce proceedings. We will ensure you fully understand the law and procedures of the relevant country, and how they apply to your case. If your matter is urgent, our international divorce lawyers will take all necessary action immediately and then work tirelessly on your behalf. We are friendly and approachable with a client-focussed approach and will go the extra mile to secure the best possible result.