Choosing the Right Divorce Jurisdiction

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Separating couples who have multiple nationalities and/or domiciles, or live in different countries, may have a choice as to where they divorce or where they dispute financial arrangements for themselves or their children. Lawyers call this a choice of jurisdiction or forum. We are able to give rapid, effective advice on this choice.

In the case of European countries, the rules say that the first person to issue divorce proceedings will “seize” the jurisdiction that they choose to the exclusion of the other.

The divorce laws of the two countries may treat assets, income and pensions in different ways. The “first to issue” rule in the EU can mean a dramatically different divorce settlement depending on who issues first.

You should therefore seek advice as soon as possible if you think there may be a choice of jurisdiction in your case.  We can advise as to whether there is a choice and, if so, which jurisdiction would be more/less favourable to you. You may also be advised to consider other factors such as the ease of enforcing the court order once made and the level of legal costs in the potential jurisdictions.

If one of you has a connection with England and the other with a country outside the EU, then the “first to issue” rule will not apply so strictly. The English court, when faced with a competing claim for divorce between England and a non-European jurisdiction, looks at a wider range of factors, not just who issued first. We have wide experience of these cases and regularly work alongside lawyers in other countries to secure the best outcome for you and your family.

Recent examples of work

  • Acting for a London based French wife who secured jurisdiction for divorce in London so that her and the children’s financial claims could be determined here.  By securing jurisdiction quickly, in a country where the couple had lived all of their married life, the client managed to secure a substantially higher settlement than she would have received in France.
  • Representing a French wife in a jurisdiction divorce case, S and S (Brussels II revised: Articles 19(1) and (3): reference to CJEU) [2014] EWHC 3613 (Fam), involving competing proceedings in France and England. The case was subsequently heard in the Court of Justice of the EU

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"It's a team that has a great breadth of experience across the board and particularly in international cases."

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"I always think of them as having a Rolls-Royce service but they are particularly good when there's a European element to the case."

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"Professional yet sympathetic manner and the team always fights hard to defend your interests"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

 

If you require further information or advice from our team of specialist family lawyers, please contact a member of our team or call us on +44 (0)20 7814 1200.

"They made a very difficult time much easier to deal with. Their professionalism kept me sane and focused on the outcome I needed"

Client

"It's a team that has a great breadth of experience across the board and particularly in international cases"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

"All have been excellent and have shown great diligence and practicality, along with sensitivity during a very difficult time in my life"

Client

"Rolls-Royce service and particularly good when there's a European element to the case"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

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