Can you Enforce a Financial Order That was Made Abroad?

Posted on: 3 mins read
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Lorraine Harvey

Partner, Family Law

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If you got divorced in a country outside of England and Wales, you may need to get a Financial Order that was made abroad enforced here. There are a number of agreements with other countries around the world that make this process easier and allow for the enforcement of foreign family court orders.

Sometimes if you have a court order from a foreign court you may also need a subsequent one in England and Wales in order to enforce it. There are certain criteria that sometimes have to be overcome before a court will consider a foreign order.

What is a Financial Order?

A Financial Order is used in divorce proceedings and allows you to cut financial ties with your spouse. It states how your matrimonial assets should be divided and makes the division of these assets legally binding. Even if you don’t have any assets, a Financial Order can safeguard you, especially if there are any debts involved and this will prevent new claims being made against your family in future. A Financial Order is not part of the divorce process so this is something you would need to do separately.

In many cases your former partner will comply with the order, however sometimes things don’t go to plan and they don’t comply, this is when you need to get your Financial Order enforced in a Family Court in England and Wales..

Some typical things you might need a Financial Order for are:

      • A UK pension or the sharing of it
      • Payments of maintenance to you or your children – if the person paying lives in England and Wales or has assets here
      • The lump sum payment from a person who lives or works in England and Wales or has assets here.

The method of enforcing a Financial Order differs massively depending on the country where the order was originally made. Our team of Family Law Solicitors can help you through the process no matter which country you are dealing with.  If you are involved in a Financial Order that is being made abroad but has to be enforced here, contact us so we can make sure that everything is legally compliant before you return.

This can be a complex area of the law though and it’s very important that you take specialist legal advice if this is something you need to do. We provide friendly, straight forward legal help and can act for you in any enforcement proceedings. Our experienced team of Family Lawyers can help you whether your Financial Order was made in an EU country or further afield.

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Overseas Maintenance Orders

If you have had a overseas maintenance order granted in a European Union member country and it was granted prior to Brexit (11pm on 31st December 2020) then it is automatically recognised in England and Wales and is enforceable here. However, the government of whichever country it was made in must arrange the transfer of the order to England via the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders (REMO) department of the UK Government which will arrange enforcement action.

In countries outside of the EU the process varies and is dependent upon whether there is an international treaty in place between the UK and the relevant country. The most common route for transmission and enforcement is using the 2007 Hague Convention which includes 90 different countries, however many others are not part of this, so it’s important that you ask for advice regarding your own individual circumstances.

Property and Pension Sharing Orders Made Overseas.

These are not so straight forward to enforce but again there a number of international treaties that can help as well, such as the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 & the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996. There is usually a way to make sure you can get the money or asset that has been awarded to you. It’s important that you seek specialist advice from our team of Family Law Solicitors as soon as possible though. We have lots of experience dealing with international divorces and Financial Orders.

If you have any questions about how to enforce a foreign Financial Order in England and Wales or if you are about to go through this process, get in touch with our Family Law Solicitors to see how we can help you.

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