Divorce and Foreign Nationality

If you are not a UK national but are thinking of applying for a divorce in England and Wales, then you need to make sure your case falls under the jurisdiction of the courts in England and Wales [Scotland has its own legal system with regard to divorce]. This means that you and/or your spouse need to meet certain criteria in order to qualify for a divorce in England and Wales. These conditions have been developed by the European Community and apply in the UK.

To apply for a divorce in the UK, you need to meet at least one of the following conditions:

• You both live in an EC country, or you both used to live in an EC country but one of you has since moved away.

• The person petitioning for the divorce lives in an EC country and has done so for at least the last year.

• The person petitioning for the divorce is a national of an EC country, who has been living there for at least six months.

Things to be aware of

Applying for a divorce in the UK doesn’t mean that you have to have been married in the country. However, if you were married in a country where English is not the main language, your marriage certificate will need to be translated before you can get divorced there.

You should also be aware that law applicable in England and Wales will apply to your divorce. This can have an impact on things such as prenuptial agreements, as while they are enforced in other countries, they aren’t currently enforceable in UK courts, although recently the courts have started to take the existence of a prenuptial agreement into account more when deciding on a financial settlement.

You might also want to consider the advantages and disadvantages of getting divorced in another country, such as if you or your spouse are entitled to do so as different countries have different rules and procedures. It is important that you make a decision as to which country you will be divorcing in early on, as in the EU, once you start proceedings you will not be able to move your case to another country. If you decide you want to get divorced outside the EU, you should again seek legal advice as these sort of overseas divorce cases can often be quite complicated.

What to consider

If you are deciding which jurisdiction you are going to divorce in, there are some things you should consider. For instance:

• The reason you are seeking divorce

• The power of the court to order disclosure of assets and how they enforce decisions

• The type of orders issued by the court and the amount they are likely to award

• The average length of the process in different jurisdictions

• Whether you could handle the travel

• The orders made in relation to children in particular jurisdictions

• The power of the court to rule on assets held in other jurisdictions

If you are concerned over issues of jurisdiction, you should seek legal advice from a divorce solicitor. They will be able to tell you whether you are able to seek a divorce in the UK or whether you would need to apply to another jurisdiction. They can explain your options to you and take you through the pros and cons of petitioning for divorce in another jurisdiction outside the UK.

Looking for specialist Divorce Solicitors – contact us today.

If you are a non-UK national and thinking of getting divorced here, and you’re looking for practical legal advice from specialist and sympathetic DIVORCE SOLICITORS why not contact the experienced divorce law team here at UK law firm Bonallack and Bishop;

  • FREEPHONE 0800 1404544
  • Call us for your FREE 30 minute interview on 0800 1404544 or
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 Divorce Foreign National