Claiming for maintenance in England when divorcing elsewhere in the EU: Will Brexit close the Villiers loophole?
Stacey commented on divorce proceedings after 31 December 2020 that, as matters stand, will fall outside the scope of EU law and same-sex unions registered in the UK which may not be recognised in certain EU countries.
In countries where a same-sex marriage or a civil union is not considered legally valid, for the purpose of divorce or dissolution, it will be as if that union never existed, leaving partners without the financial claims they would ordinarily have on divorce.”
In countries that are not signatories to the Hague Conventions and that have formal constitutional bans on same-sex marriages, we are losing the path we can follow to recognise same-sex unions in the context of divorce or dissolution. There’s a real question mark there, especially for civil partnerships, which are not dealt with by the 1970 Hague Convention,”
My concern is that we have so many international families now, and those living in the UK may decide to move to or back to another country within the EU, such as their home country or their partners’, without knowing that there is potentially a legal gap for the status of their relationship."
In the event of a future divorce, they may only come to realise this when it’s too late. It is really important that people check the domestic position before they move, but unless a couple are already considering a divorce or thinking about a nuptial agreement, this is unlikely to be something they would think to do."
Stacey Nevin is a Senior Associate in Kingsley Napley’s family and divorce team. She advises UK and international clients on matters involving all aspects of family law, in particular complex financial issues and private children cases.
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