Arbitration in cross-border family disputes

Following the UK’s exit from the European Union, the over-arching reciprocal EU law no longer applies to the UK. Cross-border disputes arising between England & Wales and the EU are dealt with differently, including family law disputes

Here, we report on the laws that apply to European cross-border family disputes in England & Wales. We also explore arbitration and how it differs from other kinds of dispute resolution. Finally, we explain when litigation may be necessary, and how getting help from Giambrone & Partners will assist in cross-border disputes.

Click on a link to that section:

Find out how EU law applies in the UK after Brexit.

Find out more about what is involved in arbitration.

Read the benefits of seeking help from an international law firm.

Does EU law apply in England & Wales after Brexit?

Prior to Brexit, EU law was applicable to cross-border disputes involving British citizens in England & Wales and EU citizens. However, since Brexit, EU law no longer applies to cases held in family courts in England or Wales relating to cross-border divorce, separation or child related issues. Cross-border separation or divorce can be complex, particularly where children of a marriage are concerned. Family disputes often include disagreements over child custody, or where the child’s domicile should be. Parental child abduction can occur, even more worrying and stressful if both parents live in different countries. In disputes involving children, the court of England & Wales adheres to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and the 1996 Hague Protection of Children Convention when it comes to child placement. The Hague Conference is recognised and abided by in both the EU and the UK.

Divorce proceedings involving nationals of different countries are now be heard before a court deemed to have the “closest connection”, based on the nationalities of both parties, as well as where they reside, their domicile, where they work and any other relevant factors.

Read our guide to cross-border divorce proceedings here.

What is arbitration and how does it differ from other types of dispute resolution?

Arbitration is a type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that allows both parties involved in a dispute to discuss their different points of view before an arbitrator is appointed to oversee the discussions connected to the dispute. This can be carried out in-person or remotely. All parties involved will be able to state their thoughts and feelings on a matter, as well as their preferred outcome, and the appointed arbitrator will help to facilitate the discussion in a neutral space (if not done remotely). After all parties have presented their arguments, the arbitrator will make a decision that will be final and legally binding.

Arbitration is less expensive than the court option and once the parties have made a satisfactory decision, thereby reducing the court time and saving court costs. Also, the process itself is much less time-consuming than litigation and court proceedings.

There are other options in ADR, such as mediation, where you will similarly discuss your points of view in a neutral space with a mediator present. However, the mediator cannot make a legally binding decision, unlike an arbitrator.

Find out more about using mediation in cross-border family disputes here.

When international legal advice becomes necessary

An international dispute is altogether more complex than a dispute involving just one jurisdiction. It is strongly advised to seek legal support from a law firm with international capability. Giambrone & Partners is not only extremely experienced in international family law but has multi-lingual lawyers with capacity in more than one jurisdiction.

Get in touch with Giambrone & Partners via our callback page so that we can help to advise you on your rights and how you may proceed with your family law matter.

Find out how we can help you here.

Common queries

What if international arbitration or mediation does not resolve the dispute?

In cases when a dispute cannot be resolved with ADR, your dispute will be decided before a court where the legal representatives of both parties will present their respective clients’ case to a judge who will make the final legally binding decision.

How long does it take to get divorced?

Divorce will normally take between four to six months to complete. However, there may be circumstances with the process may take longer.

Who pays the court costs in a divorce?

The petitioner will pay the fees for decree in a divorce.

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