The complications of international cross-border family law disputes

The number of international family law disagreements is growing Why? We live in a globalised era and as a result it is increasingly common for people to marry a foreign national overseas and live in various countries over the course of their lives.

Despite the increasingly international nature of family life, there is still no clear body of international family law. Bits and pieces of the relevant family law of the countries involved are therefore used in conjunction, even though they may conflict with one another.

Differences in court practices, schedules and the power to force disclosure, as well as variations in attitudes towards legal representation and the protection of child welfare make the resolution of financial disputes in international divorce extremely complex.

There are a number of international initiatives designed to work in the best interests of children. For example, courts almost invariably try to avoid moving a child from the country they are settled in following parental separation, until long-term arrangements are finalised. Sometimes though, it is important to act quickly, especially in cases where one parent moves a child abroad without seeking the permission of the other parent.

It may be the case that a spouse can save thousands of pounds by filing for divorce overseas in a different jurisdiction. In order to take advantage of this, legal action must be obtained without delay. Where there is a suspicion that a spouse may try to move assets it is also a good idea to seek a freezing order to ensure that the assets cannot be touched.

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