Cross-border Divorce after Brexit
Couples who are facing the prospect of ending their marriage when the husband and wife are citizens of separate countries can face a quandary, in that the parties may not agree on the country in which to divorce. Each jurisdiction in each has variable criteria and guidelines relating to divorce and depending on your point of view, there are advantages and disadvantages to be considered. Grounds for divorce can vary and the financial and custody settlements can be unpredictable in some countries.
Brexit has provided a further complication for couples divorcing in EU countries as only divorce proceedings that were initiated prior to Brexit will continue under the existing collaborative system with reciprocal arrangements agreed by all countries. Thereafter there will be, as far as it can be established unless new initiatives are agreed and introduced, a hotchpotch of different criteria and the level of cooperation between countries hinging on whether the country in question has signed up to the Hague Convention or has agreed to reciprocal arrangements with the UK or whether a completely different set of criteria applies. London has been dubbed the divorce capital of the world due to the fact that the division of assets of a divorcing couple start from a 50/50 premise in England & Wales and there is a general perception that the London courts favour the party who is financial weaker. Many women formerly married to high-net-worth individuals chose to divorce in London with a view to obtaining the best financial settlement they can.
The lawyers in Giambrone’s divorce and family law teams strongly recommend anyone considering a divorce in the jurisdiction of England & Wales which has a cross-border element, to instigate divorce proceedings as soon as possible to enable the matter to proceed with the benefits the London courts can bring without the problems that Brexit will create.
If the couple has divergent views on the jurisdiction in which the divorce should take place then the party that files a petition for divorce first defines the jurisdiction in which the divorce will take place. There are preferred countries, dependant on factors relating to the couple, whether there are children involved, the age (pensionable) of the participants to the divorce and work status of the couple. Many people struggle on with a faltering marriage because they think that their situation is complex and such questions as to how will access to the children be dealt with? What will happen to the cross-border assets? Will I get a fair settlement if I can’t fully understand the language of the country in which the divorce takes place? These are all valid concerns that the first-class family law teams within Giambrone are very experienced at resolving.
If in the future, the much discussed prospect of a “no-fault” divorce ever does come to pass in the courts of England & Wales this would considerably lessen the pain of a fractured marriage as it will eliminate the finger-pointing accusations of fault necessary at the moment if a married couple wish to divorce; undoubtedly making the UK even more popular as a divorce destination for foreign nationals with a sufficient connection with the UK.
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