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International family lawyers

Expert advice on international divorce and family law issues

As more people live or get married abroad, we are often called upon to provide specialist legal advice on a variety of international family law issues, including:

Our international family lawyers specialise in complex divorce involving overseas assets and cross-border families. Call 0800 422 0123 or get in touch online to book your initial confidential consultation and discuss your situation with an empathetic expert solicitor.

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Legal advice on overseas marriage and divorce

Taking early advice before your spouse or partner commences divorce proceedings in a particular jurisdiction is key, because the outcomes in England and Wales often differ significantly from those in other countries. It may be fatal to your claims if the other party starts proceedings first.

Where divorce proceedings are held can have a huge impact on financial claims.  Expert advice should be taken as soon as possible to avoid issues later.

In order for the English Court to be able to deal with proceedings, you will either need to be habitually resident or domiciled in England and Wales (domicile is not necessarily the same as nationality). In cases involving children, the English Court’s jurisdiction will depend on the habitual residence of your child or children.

We have the expertise to deal with these issues, as well as with cases involving complex financial assets and structures. Our divorce and separation solicitors are accredited specialists in International and European family law, and we can also work closely with family law specialists across the world wherever necessary.

Why choose our international family lawyers?

  • Accredited specialists in International and European family law
  • Highly ranked by The Legal 500 and Chambers UK
  • Access to a network of family law specialists around the world
  • Highly competitive fees and a tight control on costs
  • Members of Resolution and will always take a collaborative approach in the first instance, even across borders
  • Firm-wide expertise to advise on complex financial or legal matters

Speak to one of our international family lawyers

If you need legal advice on any aspect of international family law, call us now on 0800 422 0123 or contact us online to book an initial consultation with a specialist international family lawyer.

What the experts say about our international family law team

“They are thoroughly impressive from top to bottom, from excellent trainees through to partners. The moment you walk through their office door you get a good impression and they are wonderful to work with.” Chambers UK, 2022

“Maintains its formidable standing in the South West for complex financial remedy, surrogacy and private children matters, among others. Strong regional team representing high net worth clients in both traditional litigation and collaborative law proceedings. Increasingly involved in prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Also well adept at handling cases involving international aspects.” Chambers UK, 2019

International divorce FAQs

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.

I’m 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 still divorce here if this is your spouse’s habitual residence.

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

Yes, if 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. However, if only one of you is domiciled in England, then any divorce proceedings issued in Finland will take priority over proceedings issued in England.

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.

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.

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?

Yes, English maintenance orders can be enforced in other countries and you should take advice.

My wife and I are South African nationals and entered into an 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.

International child custody, re-location and maintenance FAQs

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.

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.

I live in England with my daughter. Her father lives in the United States. Can I 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.

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 four weeks. Even if you intend to take them for less than four weeks, it is good practice to get the other parent’s permission before you take children abroad.

Speak to an international family lawyer today

Call 0800 422 0123 or get in touch online to arrange a confidential consultation with one of our international family lawyers based in Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Southampton and Taunton.

Your key contacts

Rayner Grice

Partner

Birmingham
Rayner advises on the issues that arise for an individual following the breakdown of a relationship in relation to divorce/civil partnership dissolution, their financial affairs and their children.
View profile for Rayner Grice >

Adam Maguire

Partner

Birmingham
Adam specialises in divorce and family law. He advises clients regarding all aspects of private family law including cohabitation, separation, divorce and related financial issues, disputes concerning children and nuptial agreements.
View profile for Adam Maguire >

Clare Webb

Partner

Bristol
Clare has built her practice with a commitment to helping her clients resolve their issues in a constructive and conciliatory way. In doing so, she will always have regard to the longterm hopes and aspirations for the family as a whole, whilst of course protecting her client’s interest.
View profile for Clare Webb >

Philippa Yeo

Partner

Bristol
Philippa is committed to helping couples navigate all aspects of the legal process on the breakdown of their relationship in a pragmatic, collaborative and family-focused way including supporting couples to reach arrangements for their children and achieve healthy future co-parenting relationships.
View profile for Philippa Yeo >

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