The increase in international travel and people moving abroad to work has inevitably resulted in an ever increasing number of families who have connections to more than one country. It may be that partners are of different nationalities, or that both parties are living as part of an expatriate community in a country of which neither is a national.
When it comes to family breakdown, each case is different depending on the nationalities of the parties and where they are living. Debenhams Ottaway specialise in internationkal and expat divorce and separation.
In these situations, it may be that the choice of where to deal with the separation has an impact on the potential outcomes and it is important to understand all of your options before taking further action. It may also be necessary to act quickly in circumstances where there are competing countries where the issues arising could be dealt with. We are able to provide support and advice to you in making the correct choices at what is a crucial time.
Expat Divorce and Separation
In certain circumstances, it is possible to divorce in England and Wales even if you are not nationals of the country or if you are nationals here but are currently living abroad. Given that it can be important to be the first to start proceedings, you should take immediate advice if you think this might affect you.
Conversely, if you are served with divorce proceedings taken out in England and Wales by your spouse then it might be possible to argue that a different court should in fact be dealing with your case. Your first steps when dealing with this can be crucial so you should take advice immediately.
Financial Matters for International Separation
Different countries deal with financial matters between separating couples very differently. If you have a connection to England and Wales then you should take advice at an early stage in relation to your options. The English court is able to make orders in relation to assets held abroad but questions of whether any order will be enforceable need to be considered carefully and will form part of the negotiations around settlement.
If you have been divorced overseas but have a connection with England and Wales, then it may be possible to settle financial matters in this country despite having a foreign divorce. Permission of the court is required and you should take advice if this might apply to you.
Post and Pre-Nuptial Agreements
If you have either assets in England and Wales or you are currently living in England and Wales then you may wish to draw up a nuptial agreement according to the rules in this country which set out how you want your property and other assets to be dealt with in the unfortunate event of a divorce. Doing so, can help provide more certainty at what is often a stressful time. It is sometimes advisable to have an agreement in England and Wales even where one agreement has already been signed in another country, if there are assets here or one party is a national in England and Wales.
To discuss your options and to find out about your legal rights and responsibilities with international or expat divorce or separation, contact us today.