Divorce & Family

International Divorce FAQ

In this section Daniel aims to answer questions that frequently arise from international divorce. If you have a question, please contact Daniel – the results will then be posted here.

Divorce

1. I got married in the Dominican Republic but live in England, can I get divorced in England?

Where you got married is irrelevant as long as the marriage is valid under the laws of the country where the marriage took place. You can get divorced in England as long as you or your spouse are habitually resident in England or domiciled here.

2. I am a French national living in England, can I divorce here?

Yes, as long as you have been habitually resident in England for at least one year, then you can divorce here. If you have not been habitually resident here for 12 months then you can get divorced here if this is your spouse’s habitual residence.

3. My husband and I are Spanish, but we live in England. Can we divorce here and/or in Spain?

You can divorce in either England or Spain. If you are living in one EU state** (e.g. England) but you are nationals of another EU state (e.g. Spain) then you can get divorced in either state. If divorce proceedings are issued in both states then whichever proceedings are issued first will take priority.

4. I have been living in Belgium for the last 12 months and my husband is living in England. Can I get divorced in England?

You can get divorced in either England or Belgium. If you have been habitually resident in one EU state* for 12 months (e.g. Belgium) and your spouse is habitually resident in another EU state** (e.g. England) then you can get divorced in either state. If divorce proceedings are issued in both states then whichever proceedings are issued first will take priority.

5. My wife and I are living and working in Finland temporarily, can we get divorced in England?

Yes, provided you do not intend to remain in Finland then you can get divorced in England provided either you or your wife is domiciled* in England. If only one of you is domiciled in England then any divorce proceedings issued in Finland will take priority over proceedings issued in England.

6. I am a Portuguese national living in Tunisia and I am married to a British national, can I get divorced in England?

Yes, you can get divorced in England if your husband is domiciled* in England However you should take legal advice about the merits of divorce proceedings in England if there are no assets in England or if any financial orders would have to be enforced abroad.

Finances

1. My husband and I got divorced in France where we both still live. Can I bring a financial claim in England?

If either you or your husband are domiciled* in England and Wales, then you can bring a financial claim in England. You would also be able to bring a claim if you had a property in England and Wales which at some point had been the matrimonial home. If you were to return to England and live here for one year, then you would be able to bring a financial claim here. You would need to take legal advice about the merits of bringing a claim in England after a foreign divorce.

2. I live in England with my daughter. Her father lives in the United States, can we claim financial support from him for my daughter?

Yes, you can seek an order against your husband either for a lump sum or for periodical payments. This order will be enforced in the United States. Alternatively you can ask the English Authorities to transmit your claim to the United States and the US Authorities will consider your claim and can make orders against your husband as appropriate.

3. My husband and I divorced in England 2 years ago and he has now moved to Italy. The English Court made a maintenance order in my favour, can this be enforced in Italy?

Answer: Yes, English maintenance orders can be enforced in other EU states.

4. I am living in New York with my son. His father is a UK national and has returned to England. Can I bring a financial claim against the father on behalf of my son?

Yes, you can either ask the Courts in New York to make a financial order against your son’s father which can then be enforced in England, or you can ask the authorities in New York to transmit your claim to England so that the English Court can make the appropriate order.

5. My wife and I are South African nationals and entered into antenuptial contract (prenuptial agreement) in South Africa before we got married. Is this agreement enforceable in England in the event of a future divorce there?

No, the agreement is not automatically enforceable. The fact that you are South African nationals and that these agreements are binding there is likely to influence an English Court but will not be binding on them.

Children

1. I am a German national and have recently divorced my husband who is English. We have a daughter and I would like to return to Germany with her. Can I take her to Germany permanently?

If your daughter is habitually resident in England, then you will need the permission of the English Court in order to take your daughter to Germany permanently.

2. My husband and I are separated and we have two children who I would like to take to Italy to see my parents for a Summer holiday. Do I need my husband’s permission?

If you have a residence order in your favour, then you will require your husband’s consent to take the children abroad for more than 4 weeks. Even if you intend to take them for less than 4 weeks it is good practice to get the other parent’s permission before you take children abroad. *Excludes Denmark