Cross-jurisdictional family disputes increasing

Over the last 10 years, the number of cross-jurisdictional family law cases brought before UK courts has increased by 1000%. Figures from a body established to encourage co-operation between judiciaries internationally suggest that cases have increased twofold over the last two years.

The Office for the Head of International Family Justice has released its yearly report, revealing that the number of new cases rose by nearly 300% between 2008 and 2012 and the process seems to be accelerating. Not only is the number of cases handled increasing but the number of countries involved is also on the up. 71 jurisdictions were referenced in cases in 2012 compared with 51 in 2011.

Amongst the issues dealt with by the Office are international adoption, child abduction, overseas relocation and forced marriage.

Judges and lawyers can call upon the Office for assistance with cases which have become delayed due to the differences between the legal systems in the different countries involved. Where one of the countries involved does not uphold international conventions particularly in relation to children’s rights, the Office can be of great help.

2010 statistics show that countries in Europe are most commonly involved in disputes handled by the Office, with Poland appearing the most. A recent case saw the Cypriot judiciary give guarantees that it would not bring legal proceedings against women returning to Cyprus from Britain with children following intervention from the Office.

Family lawyers are increasingly dealing with cases of an international nature which is largely put down to the increasing number of international marriages, movement abroad of British couples and growing likelihood of children being born in the UK despite both of their parents being foreign nationals.

Couples often relocate only to discover that they do not understand the legal process in their new country of residence. This can massively affect what happens to your children and your finances so it is crucial to have a lawyer with experience of international cases on your side.

Our international family solicitors specialise in cross-border family cases

The family team here at Bonallack & Bishop are experienced in international family disputes and have the expertise needed to help you. For those who cannot visit us in office, we are happy to conduct your cases via Skype video, phone or email.

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