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Divorce is a challenging process, and when it involves expatriates residing in a foreign country, the complexities can multiply. For expatriates living in England and Wales seeking a divorce, understanding the legal procedures is essential. In this blog, we’ll outline the key factors you must consider when applying for an expat divorce in England and Wales.


What do I need to know before applying for an Expat Divorce in England & Wales

The first step prior to commencing a divorce application in England and Wales is that you should consider assessing all the jurisdictions that may be available to you before initiating divorce proceedings. It’s crucial to determine whether the courts in England and Wales have jurisdiction over your case and that it is the most suitable forum for you and your circumstances:

You must be able to satisfy one of the criteria below prior to commencing divorce proceedings in England and Wales: 

  1. You and your spouse are habitually resident in England or Wales.  
  2. You or your spouse lived in England or Wales, and one of you still lives there.
  3. You wish to commence the divorce, and your spouse lives in England or Wales.
  4. You wish to commence the divorce, and you have lived in England or Wales for 1 year.
  5. You wish to commence the divorce and you have lived in England or Wales for 6 months, and you are domiciled in England or Wales.
  6. You and your spouse are both domiciled in England or Wales.
  7. Either you OR your spouse are domiciled in England or Wales, and no other EU country has jurisdiction under 1-6 above.

If you decide to proceed with commencing divorce proceedings without satisfying any of the above criteria, you run the risk of your partner challenging your application for divorce, which can cause delays and have cost consequences for you.

Applying for an expat divorce in England and Wales involves navigating a structured legal process. From establishing jurisdiction to completing the necessary paperwork and obtaining the final order, each step requires attention to detail and adherence to deadlines. It is important to ensure that the first step that you take is correct, as the jurisdiction that you chose to divorce in may impact the outcome of your financial settlement and even contact arrangements for your children.

When to seek legal advice.

Seeking legal advice from experienced professionals specialising in international family law can provide invaluable guidance and support throughout the process, ensuring a smoother transition through this challenging period.


Talk To Our Specialists

If you are facing similar issues, our family law solicitors can provide guidance and support in navigating the complexities of financial settlements in overseas divorces. It is always important and highly advisable to seek professional legal advice. Talk to our specialist Family Law team, led by Zubair Dharamsi. You can call Zubair on 0208 972 8820, or email him at zd@roselegal.co.uk

This blog post is not intended to be taken as advice or acted upon. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our team of solicitors.

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