Going through a divorce with an international element can be very complex.
Divorce can be emotional and stressful, but for couples going through an international divorce the process is even more difficult.
International law, procedures and requirements regarding all aspects of family law such as divorce, financial settlements, child custody and maintenance, are significantly different from laws in England and Wales.
If any of the following scenarios apply, then you may need an international family solicitor:
- You married in a different country
- One or both of you live in a different country
- One or both of you have property or assets overseas
- There may be issues regarding international child arrangements
Obtaining legal advice from international divorce lawyers at an early stage when considering an international divorce is essential as this largely affects any matrimonial assets, provisions for your children, tax, inheritance and immigration status, to name but a few. The court that receives the first divorce petition will stipulate where your divorce will take place and which country will have jurisdiction in your divorce.
Choosing a jurisdiction for international divorce
The country your divorce takes place in will have a big impact on your financial settlement arising out of your divorce. The requirements to divorce in a certain country will depend on the following:
- Habitual residence
- Domicile (the country that you treat as your permanent home)
- The country your marriage took place in
In certain circumstances, you may be able to choose the jurisdiction that will deal with your divorce and therefore may be more likely to obtain a better outcome. It is, therefore, vital to act fast and obtain legal advice at the earliest opportunity from an international divorce solicitor.
If you are considering an international divorce, our specialist family law team can help you. We offer competitive rates to deal with your matter. Our consultations have a fixed fee of £200, which you can arrange by free phoning us on 0300 303 3629.
To get a divorce, you must be able to demonstrate that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. You must be able to prove the following:
- Your spouse has acted unreasonably;
- Your spouse has committed adultery;
- Your spouse has deserted you for a continuous period of two years;
- You and your spouse have been separated for at least two years and you are both in agreement to the divorce proceedings;
- You and your spouse have been separated for at least five years.
A standard divorce can take between 6-8 months, provided that it is not contested. If a divorce is contested then this timescale will be longer and it will depend on when outstanding issues are resolved.
If matters are uncontested, and you have already agreed with your former partner your divorce and financial arrangements, there will be no requirement for you to attend court. Your divorce will be processed based on your paperwork. If you not agreed on part or all of your financial arrangements, you will be obliged to attend Court.
Finance & Divorce FAQs
Both you and your spouse will have financial claims against the other. The starting point will be the equal division of everything you both own including capital and income. Various other factors will then be taken into consideration to decide is an equal division of assets is a fair division based upon your circumstances. This includes:
- Needs of your children
- Income, earning capacity, property and other finance financial resources of each party
- The age of each party
- Any physical or mental disability to either party to the marriage
- Contributions each party has made to the family or family home
- The financial needs and obligations of each party
- The standard of living enjoyed by the family prior to the breakdown of marriage
- The conduct of each party
My spouse and I have been separated for a while and I do not know what their financial position is. How can I find this our and how will the court decide what is a fair settlement?
Both parties to the divorce have a duty to give the other full and frank financial disclosure using a financial form, ‘Form E’. The court will direct you both to complete and exchange a Form E which will include each party’s:
- Assets including property
- Bank accounts
Both parties will be obliged to provide supporting evidence to the other so that you have a clear picture of the other’s financial position.
My spouse and I have already reached an agreement about how we will divide our finances. Do we still need to make an application to the court?
It is advisable that you both seek independent legal advice upon making any agreements with your spouse.
You can set out any agreements you have made in a consent order and file this with the court. Both parties must sign this for the consideration of the judge. You will also need to complete a basic financial statement of information for the court’s consideration. The Judge will usually approve the consent order by sealing it. One an order is sealed by the court, it will be legally binding on the both of you. It will usually become effective from the final decrees of divorce is granted.
If you do not have your agreement sealed by the Court and approved by a Judge, your agreement will not be binding. Your financial claims against each other will continue in the future even after divorce.
A clean break order is an order which allows you to break all financial ties with your spouse. Once a clean break order has been made, all financial claims in the future are dismissed and neither spouse can make a claim for money or assets. This enables both parties to the divorce to move forward and be financially independent of one another.
Even if you do not have any assets at the time of your divorce, it is still vital to get a clean break. Your spouse’s ability to make a financial claim will continue to exist even after you have a divorce. In certain circumstances, a clean break may not be appropriate especially if there are children involved.
If a clean break is appropriate, you must make an application to the court and have the order sealed. Without this order, there is always a possibility that you could be faced with a financial claim in the future.
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