Overseas divorce

Many couples move overseas for periods of time, often to fulfill work commitments and if they decide to separate and subsequently divorce, there is often confusion over which country the Divorce Petition should be issued in.


The English Courts will have jurisdiction in the following circumstances:

• Both parties are resident in England and Wales

• Both parties were last jointly habitually resident in England and one still resides here

• The Respondent is habitually resident in England

• The Petitioner is habitually resident here and has resided here for the last 12 months

• The Petitioner is domiciled and habitually resident here and has resided here for at least the last 6 months

• Both parties are domiciled here

Divorce proceedings overseas are often more complicated than in the UK and you may be required to adhere to local laws. Factors taken into consideration include:

• Whether or not you are both living overseas in the same location and need to file for divorce in that country

• Whether or not that divorce will be recognised in your home country

• Whether or not the divorce proceedings are being initiated by the spouse when the other party is overseas – most common in military life when one party is often away from home for extended periods

• If one party is overseas on a longer-term assignment and frequent travel back and forth is not possible, causing the couple to drift further apart

Example scenario

An English family is living overseas because of the husband’s job and he informs his wife that he has met somebody else and would like a divorce. In this scenario, the wife’s best course of action would be to issue a Divorce Petition in the UK as soon as possible. If the husband issues his first, the local Courts will have exclusive jurisdiction. If this was to happen, the wife may well receive a less favourable financial settlement and lose any rights to spousal maintenance.

Looking for legal advice with your Overseas Divorce contact us today.

International family law is a complex area. Contact one of our specialist Divorce Lawyers here at UK law firm Bonallack and Bishop at the earliest opportunity to ensure that you receive the most expert legal advice on your overseas divorce.

  • Just call us on the following numbers for FREE specialist advice

SALISBURY [01722] 422300

AMESBURY [01980] 622992

ANDOVER [01264] 364433          

  • FREEPHONE 0800 1404544
  • Or email our team by filling out the contact form below

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