Head of Family, Children and Divorce
Trainee Chartered Legal Executive
In a world with increased global movement and reduced geographical barriers, more and more of our cases have an international dimension. Whether you have a holiday home in Spain, or you live or work abroad or you need a complex multi-jurisdictional pre-nuptial agreement, we can provide you with the specialist family law advice you require.
We often meet clients who have a connection with another country. This could be, for example, due to nationality, the location of assets or because they live abroad (or have done so during the marriage). In such cases, it is important to establish which countries could possibly entertain divorce proceedings and which may be preferable for you if there is a choice. It is not unknown for one spouse deliberately to “forum shop” and start divorce proceedings in a country where they can obtain a tactical or financial advantage to the detriment of their spouse.
If you think this may be relevant to you then please contact one of our team to discuss your situation. It may be necessary to take action swiftly to protect your position.
It is possible in certain circumstances to ask the court in England and Wales to grant financial provision after an overseas divorce.
We have experience of these type of applications, both in terms of general financial provision and Ellie Foster has particular experience in the niche area of obtaining English pension sharing orders after an overseas divorce.
When negotiating a financial settlement on divorce both parties are required to make full and frank disclosure of their financial positions. This includes disclosure of all assets, liabilities and income, wherever in the world they are situated.
Many of our cases involve assets situated abroad, such as a holiday home, bank account or a pension. Specialist advice is required about the valuation of any such assets, liquidity, tax issues and how they can and should be treated on divorce.
The treatment of pensions on divorce is a complex area. The situation is complicated further if a case involves pensions with an international dimension.
The issues can be divided broadly into two categories:
We have experience of dealing with cases involving these issues. In particular, we have expertise in obtaining English pension sharing orders after an overseas divorce to “convert” the foreign pension sharing arrangement into an English order capable of being implemented by the English scheme. Ellie Foster, a Legal Director in our family law team, has dealt with such cases involving orders from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and a number of US states.
Whilst pre-nuptials agreements are not yet strictly binding in England and Wales, they are binding in many other countries. If either party has a connection with another country then careful thought needs to be given to parties’ current and future living arrangements and personal circumstances and the appropriate forum for the pre-nup.
Specialist family law advice should be sought in each relevant country as to the terms, status and enforceability of the intended agreement and the need for mirror agreements to maximise its future effectiveness.
For further details or to discuss your situation please contact a member of Raworths family law team.
Leaving the country
Clients are often surprised to learn that unless they have a child arrangements order in their favour, then they cannot take a child out of the United Kingdom, even for a short holiday, without the consent of all others who have parental responsibility for their child, or an order of the court. To do so may be a criminal offence under the Child Abduction Act 1984.
Many parents are able to agree holiday arrangements between themselves, including foreign holidays, but on occasions more formal assistance is required. We can help you to negotiate an agreement to take your child or children on holiday abroad or, if a reasonable request is refused, make the necessary court application.
In some circumstances one party may have very genuine plans to move permanently abroad, perhaps to live with a new partner or to take up an offer of work. Again, if any other person with parental responsibility objects to the move then the court’s permission would be needed to remove the child or children from the United Kingdom.
These type of cases are clearly highly charged emotionally and are difficult to resolve, with one parent facing the prospect of their child living possibly thousands of miles away, with the consequent impact on their relationship. Forward planning is therefore key.
We have experience of dealing with these type of cases. For further details or to discuss your situation please contact Raworths family law team.