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International Divorce


international divorceInternational Divorce

Increasing numbers of people are moving around the world for work and other reasons. Consequently there has been a big increase in the number of international relationships, families and children who have strong connections with more than one country. This has led to an increase in international divorce.

The outcomes of financial provision cases can be very different depending on which country’s courts deal with your case and it is important to be aware of these differences. This applies both across Europe and in other parts of the world. One example of this is that some countries grant spousal maintenance for at most a couple of years after the international divorce and when it ends it cannot be extended. England often makes lifelong spousal maintenance orders and amongst other types of spousal maintenance orders.

Even with a family of average resources there can be substantially different outcomes in different countries. It is important to be aware of this from the outset and sometimes urgent action needs to be taken to protect your position and ensure that proceedings are started promptly in the country whose divorce law best benefits you. A particularly important point is that within the European Union a divorce case will proceed in the country where proceedings are started first so you may need to compete in a “race�? to start proceedings first. If you find yourself in this situation it is very important to take advice as a matter of urgency. We are able to act very swiftly to protect your interests.

If the jurisdiction where proceedings may be started is not within the European Union it is still important to act quickly but in most other countries the place where the proceedings started will not necessarily be the country which deals finally with the case. The approach of the English Courts in respect of non EU countries is that the matter should be dealt with in the jurisdiction which is found to be most closely linked to the couple in question and their way of life and which is the most convenient for them. The Court has discretion in this and the dispute is likely to be expensive. We recently dealt with a case where the other party had issued proceedings for divorce in the United States where the outcome was likely to be less favourable for our client than in England. By acting quickly, we were able to succeed with having the case heard in England.

We will investigate in advance what the benefits are likely to be of choosing one jurisdiction rather than another and whether the costs of a dispute are likely to be worthwhile. We have a network of international contacts whose expert knowledge will be utilised to best advise you about the likely outcome of your case in various parts of the world.


At White & Partners LLP we have over 30 years of experience in international divorce. We are experts in this area of law and welcome your queries, please contact us below for further information.

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