Has Brexit affected international divorce?
If you are part of a multi-european couple, you could see yourself hurtling towards a cross-border uncoupling as the waves of Brexit crash through UK Divorce.
Prior to January 2021 and Brexit, a couple who had connections to the UK and another EU country found themselves in a kind of “race to the finish-line”. It used to be the case that who started proceedings first, got to have the divorce go through the legal system of the country they had chosen to file the papers in.
So, as an example, previously, if you were English and married to an Italian, your spouse could technically file for divorce in Italy before you got the chance to do it in the UK. If you were not quick enough, the divorce would be tried under Italian Law. In fact, there was a time where Maidenhead in Berkshire suddenly became the divorce capital of the world as many people believed that the UK was the best and fairest place to divorce – Read the article in The Guardian HERE
This system no longer applies since Brexit happened in January as EU laws on divorce no longer apply to the UK. The sprint has literally ended.
So what happens now?
Well, instead of the “first past the post” system, a UK-EU divorce will now use the “closest connection” to decide which country’s law will be applied to the divorce proceedings. The law will determine this by considering the following:
- Where the couple work
- Where any children attend school
- The nationality of the couple
- Where the main home and assets are
Some believe that basing a cross-border divorce on the above, is fairer than a couple frantically attempting to be the first to file. Whatever your opinion, it’s all become a lot more complicated. It’s fair to say, that there will now be an increase in time consuming cross-border disputes in order for a decision to be made. This process will, of course attract higher legal fees in international cases.
This in turn will lead to more protracted proceedings as one partner looses their right to have their divorce tried under their country’s laws. However, many argue that even with the previous method, one spouse did not get what they wanted.
Get professional help and advice
Here at The Group Hug we spark conversations about different topics. We are not legal professionals.. and we always advise our audience to seek expert legal advice before embarking on the process of getting a cross-border (or any) divorce. You can find Solicitor or Lawyer who specialises in Family Law in The Hug Directory…
Written by The Group Hug