If you need a divorce you apply to the courts of the country in which you live or were married – right? Not necessarily, and for ex-pats or those originally from other countries who’ve made a home in the UK, it is far from being clear cut.
It becomes even foggier when you consider marriages across borders with children born in other countries. And neither of their parents may actually be native to the country where their child was born. This can often happen with people in the forces or diplomatic service, but increasingly also for ex-pats who have settled abroad.
These things can make a divorce process more complex – but by no means impossible. The essential thing is to select the jurisdiction that will deliver the right result for you. Germany, for example, might offer better financial terms for a male divorcee, whilst homemakers will tend to get a better deal from the English courts.
The first course should always be to consult a family law specialist experienced in international or ex-pat divorce. They will quickly be able to assess the situation and get things moving. Speed can be of the essence as you can only file for divorce in one country and it’s ‘first come, first served’. So if a person decides they want to use the British courts, they need to act before their partner to ensure this happens.
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Andrew Woolley, Woolley & Co, Specialist Divorce Lawyers