International Divorce – What Is It and How Do You Prepare For It?


  1. What Is International Divorce?

A divorce will be considered international when you or your spouse have connections with more than one country. This might be the case because you or your spouse live abroad for work, end up living in different countries or because you have different nationalities. You should take immediate legal advice to ascertain which country would be best for you to divorce in, as different countries have different laws in relation to financial claims. Filing a divorce with an international element usually proceeds like a normal divorce where both spouses are living in the same country.

  1. Can I Get A Divorce In England And Wales If I am Not Currently Living There?

 Yes, depending on your circumstances, you may still be able to obtain a divorce in England and Wales. The residency requirements need to be fulfilled. In order to divorce in England and Wales, at the time of your divorce, either you or your spouse need to meet one of the following criteria:

  • You are both last habitually resident in here and one of you still resides here or;
  • Your spouse is habitually resident here or;
  • You are habitually resident here and you have lived here for at least one year immediately before the application or;
  • You are habitually resident here and you have lived here for at least six months before the application or;
  • You are both domiciled here.
  1. Why Do I Need To Get Divorced In England And Wales If I am Not Living There?

 It is not mandatory for you to divorce in England and Wales. However, if the divorce proceedings have been initiated here by your spouse, you will have no option but to divorce in the UK unless you can dispute the proceedings on the grounds of jurisdiction. The court will look at which country has the closest connection to the two of you. As disputes between countries are both time consuming and costly it is always advisable to seek legal advice before a divorce application is issued to ensure that the country most suited to you is chosen.

  1. How Will I Communicate With My International Lawyer?

 Virtual meeting via Microsoft Teams, Zoom, WhatsApp etc can be set up for meetings. Other forms of communication such as emails and telephone calls can also be utilised.

  1. What Happens To My Overseas Assets? Will They Be Shared too?

Yes, generally all assets will be considered. However, it is important to consider what assets are held abroad, where and the range of powers that the court here could make and the difficulties, if any, that you could face around enforcing this in the foreign country.

  1. Can You Get Divorced In Two Countries?

The short answer is yes, but only to a certain extent and not in all circumstances. Most countries recognise divorce decrees from foreign countries as long as the foreign country ensures certain procedural requirements have been met.

  1. Will UK Recognise Overseas Divorce?

There is no facility by which to formally register a foreign divorce in England and Wales per se. However, a divorce that took place abroad will be valid in the jurisdiction of England and Wales if the issued foreign order is valid under the law of the country in which it was obtained. Furthermore, at the date on which recognition of the foreign divorce is sought, either of the parties must be habitually resident, domiciled or a national of the country in which the foreign order was obtained.

  1. My Children Live Abroad With Me Will They Have To Be Relocated After Divorce?

This will depend on the child arrangements you have agreed with your spouse. During the divorce you will also need to consider the arrangements for the children. If you cannot agree, then court proceedings should be considered, in which a judge will make the decision. However, the courts are not keen on fundamentally changing the current living arrangements for children unless there are serious welfare concerns.

  1. Can You Give Any Advice Regarding How To Prepare For An International Divorce?

The starting point would be to consider obtaining legal advice as soon as possible. If you know which country, you would like to get divorced in (and you are able to get divorce in) it is important to seek legal advice quickly. It is advisable that you have an idea of the outcome that you would like from the divorce. All countries have different rules and processes for determining the outcome of divorce. It is important to obtain advice on which country can provide the most favourable outcome for you. It is also important to consult your solicitor about what they will require from you in terms of paperwork and start to gather the relevant documentation.

Contact our family law solicitors about international divorce today.

At Breakthrough Family Law Solicitors, we are specialist divorce lawyers with a high level of experience in international divorce.

If you are going through a divorce and you would like to speak to an expert family mediator, call our principal, Akash Soni, on 01494 328825 or  Make An Online Enquiry .

We inspire trust and confidence in our clients by offering high-quality advice in a clear, straightforward and compassionate manner and working tirelessly to achieve the right result.





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