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Woolley & Co latest 

Rise in expat divorce

The number of couples seeking advice on divorce after moving to another country has risen dramatically over the last 12 months.

Family lawyers Woolley & Co have specialists in divorce across borders and is increasingly being called upon to act for clients. Enquiries are up around 30 per cent in the first six months of 2008 compared to a year ago.

Around 170,000 couples each year get divorced "across borders" in the EU. It appears that, for some, a move abroad can be a last gasp attempt to save a relationship.

Couples moving abroad should be made aware that, in the event of them deciding to divorce, the English courts can be used provided the couple were "domiciled" there. This is a complex legal concept which needs to be explained and explored in each case.

We believe using the English courts where possible leads to a cheaper, quicker divorce with no unnecessary problems caused by language differences and, often, there can be a fairer settlement.

However, EU regulations do dictate that the divorce should take place in the country where proceedings are first initiated - so a client needs to act quickly once they have made a final decision to ensure that they get their way.

Anyone considering a split while living abroad should contact an experienced family lawyer to review their options. For all they know, their partner may have already done the same and so be one step ahead of them.

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