Thousands of the divorce cases heard in courts in England and Wales today are international cases involving UK nationals abroad or foreign nationals, according to research from The Times.
In the last 12 months there has been a marked increase in international divorce cases dealt with by UK courts. One in every six divorce cases going before the courts in the last dealt with international clients further contributing to the UK’s reputation as the world’s divorce hotspot. When London divorce cases including high financial sums are analysed, the figures are even more remarkable, with 50% of these cases involving international clients.
Why are there so many international divorces?
One explanation may be the increased movement generally of both UK nationals abroad and foreign nationals to the UK. With a strong legal system in the UK, both those who have left and those who are arriving are keen to make use of the English and Welsh courts for their divorce cases.
However, perhaps the real reason for the increase in international divorces is that English and Welsh courts are likely to give larger financial rewards to the least well off partner in a marriage. Other courts around the world tend to give smaller rewards to the least wealthy spouse but in the UK they can walk away from divorce with a large share. As a result, partners push for their divorce cases to be heard in the UK. Indeed, so called ‘divorce tourists’ are even said to move to the UK for a year or two in order to start divorce proceedings through the English or Welsh courts.
However, whilst the UK courts are increasingly being seen as moderate in their attitudes towards divorce, it must be said that the Court of Appeal takes a very strict approach to the rulings made in foreign jurisdictions. It is very rare that decisions made abroad are reversed in the UK.