Could The Brexit Affect Your Family?

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The Law Of... keeping it together

In June this year, the British people voted to leave the EU. For many families up and down the country, there has been a level of uncertainty – what could it mean for them, and are there any legal implications?

The Law Of... keeping it together

Agata Osinska, Solicitor in our Family Law department, explores what the Brexit could mean for families with at least one family member from a European country.

No Immediate Changes

In the aftermath of the EU referendum, the overarching message from the government is that nothing will be changing in the immediate future.

Before the UK begins the process of leaving the EU, a formal notice needs to be made by the British government to activate Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon. Once Article 50 is invoked, negotiations can take up to two years, and, if an agreement on a post-Brexit relationship is not complete before the end of the two years all other member states must agree to extend this deadline.

The nature of this process means that there is a lot of complex and highly-specialised work involved, meaning that the government is still unsure of when the UK is to leave, so the length of time before could even be extended. There have been no official decisions made on this at present.

Different Impact In Different Areas

When the UK does eventually leave the EU, some areas of law may be affected in different ways, especially as some legislation is currently based entirely on EU law.

In the current period of uncertainty it is not clear what sort of relationship Britain will have with the EU when it leaves, however the type of deal that is agreed by the British government and Brussels may also have a bearing on how laws are affected.

Agata comments:

"This is such a massive issue with so many elements to consider and adhere to, it is only appropriate that time is being taken to reflect on everything, before triggering the whole process. There are lots of implications for EU citizens living in the UK, especially when it comes to family law. The thought of splitting families up may be enough to keep you up at night – especially if you are worried that it could affect your own family."

"What I cannot stress enough is that, for now, you should not panic. Any changes are a long way off. If and when changes do take place, relevant legislation will need to be considered carefully by everyone involved – from government officials, to legal practitioners and professionals – to reflect the needs of society and help everyone make this process as smooth as possible."


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