International Family Law: 3 Things You Must Know About Divorce

A gavel over a map of the world signifying international family law

Regular divorces have the potential to be difficult and stressful, to begin with, but international family law comes with additional rules and regulations that can put a few extra spanners in the works. It’s for this reason that working alongside a divorce solicitor who specialises in these types of cases will be vital to ensure the best possible outcome.

International family law pertains to the various situations (such as divorce, cohabitation, child law, etc.) that fall under the umbrella of family law, but with the inclusion of a foreign component. Naturally, this will complicate things somewhat as other countries have their own laws, some of which may differ substantially to that of your homeland, making the legal process more complex.

Hiring a legal representative, such as a divorce solicitor, is an important first step to ensure you get the best possible resolution. International family law is a specialist skill set that isn’t possessed by all divorce lawyers, but when it comes to cases that involve a foreign element, it’s vital for your choice of solicitor to be adept with these situations.

In this post, we’ll take a look at international divorce and highlight a few key aspects that are worth taking note of.

1.  Hire a Divorce Solicitor Immediately

When it comes to international family law cases, it’s vital to hire a family lawyer as soon as possible. This will allow you to get the ball rolling as soon as possible, which will prove to be crucial if you have foreign policies to navigate and account for. Communication with your partner will be crucial to ensure that you both are on the same page in regards to the country you plan to divorce in. Otherwise, things could get really complicated, really quickly.

Although seeking legal assistance as soon as possible benefits you greatly, it’s important to shop around enough to find a divorce solicitor that actually suits your needs. Take KMJ Solicitors, for example. Our team in London are vastly experienced in the many different areas of family law, but we also have a network of family lawyers in different jurisdictions throughout the world, who we work with closely.

International family law cases such as divorce are very different to regular English family law cases, so your choice of solicitor needs to have the appropriate skills and knowledge. Here at KMJ Solicitors, we deal with family law cases with an international element in diverse jurisdictions such as South Africa, Iraq, Jordan, Russia, India, Australia and also countries throughout Europe.

2. Issues that Affect International Divorce

Every country has a slightly different approach to family law, so there are many varying factors to consider. This makes international family law cases extremely confusing, as it can be difficult to fully understand which laws apply to your own situation. When it comes to international divorce, there are a number of factors to consider. For example:

  • If you got married abroad
  • If you spent some of your married life in a country other than England
  • If either yourself or your partner (or both of you) were born outside of England
  • If child residence or contact is a concern, or if child abduction is a possibility
  • If you own property abroad
  • You may have concerns over an international divorce being recognised by English law

As you can see, many things can affect international divorces, which is why your best option moving forward is to consult a divorce solicitor who specialises in international family law. This will not only give you a much better chance of getting through this difficult period with as little unnecessary hassle as possible, but it will also give you access to the knowledge of a professional who can enlighten you along the way.

3. Never Make Assumptions

Due to the tricky nature of international family law, it’s vital that you never make assumptions regarding the laws that apply to your divorce proceedings. For example, in Scotland only, what’s known as ‘matrimonial property’ — which means assets acquired or owned during the marriage or civil partnership — are taken into account. This varies from how things are ruled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and therefore will mean the settlement will be different.

Also, in some countries outside of Britain, there is no law stating that divorce couples must disclose their financial assets, which again will have an effect on the financial settlement.

Another assumption could be the legal legitimacy of prenuptial agreements during a divorce — which aren’t strictly enforceable in England — are taken into account when couples no longer agree to the terms. Whereas in Scotland, a prenuptial agreement is legally enforceable — and that’s just inside of the UK. Countries around the world have different laws on prenups, so it’s something that shouldn’t be overlooked during a divorce. Doing so could cost you dearly!

A divorce is arguably one of the most emotionally taxing, stressful, and confusing times of a person’s life. In cases with foreign elements, where there are the laws of other countries to consider, these feelings can be amplified. It’s for this reason that it’s vital to seek the assistance of a divorce solicitor you can rely on, who has experience dealing with jurisdictions outside of the UK.

Are you looking for a high-quality divorce lawyer who’s experienced in aspects of international family law? KMJ Solicitors is a team of skilled and knowledgeable family lawyers, who also have a network of family lawyers in different jurisdictions all over the world. Book your FREE no-obligation consultation online today and ensure all aspects of your divorce are covered.

Clayton spent five years working in family law with a firm in Australia before moving to the UK in 1999. He deals with all aspects of family law, specialising in all family matters, offshore trusts, company structures, international law, prenuptial agreements, high net worth cases and cohabitation law.