Can I Divorce in UK if I Live Abroad?

Author:
Fiona Lyon
Partner, Family Law and Divorce Solicitor
Date:
11/02/2020

The short answer is yes, but there are certain requirements that need to be met if you want to file for divorce in England and Wales if you live abroad.

It would be best for you to contact a Divorce Solicitor, who would consider the circumstances of your marriage, where you’ve lived previously and where you live now and where your former partner lives. Once the Solicitor has all this information, they will also consider your connection to these countries.

There’s no doubt that times have changed.

In the past, if you got married in England or Wales and were born here, you would most likely have spent your life here. But one of the biggest changes has been that people now travel all over the world and live in different countries and some get married in remote locations.

As a result of these changes, all those things need to be considered before a Divorce Solicitor can be sure that England and Wales has jurisdiction to deal with your divorce.

For initial advice get in touch with one of our Divorce Solicitors.

Call us on 08002605010 or request a callback and we will help you.

What is Jurisdiction in Divorce?

Jurisdiction is the authority given to a Court to deal with a particular type of case or a particular location. In the UK, there are three jurisdictions. They are:

  • England and Wales
  • Scotland
  • Northern Ireland

To get a divorce in a particular jurisdiction, you will need to meet the requirements set in that jurisdiction.

Getting a Divorce in England and Wales

Knowing whether you can issue divorce proceedings in England and Wales is especially important if you know there are going to be difficulties reaching agreement over your finances or children.

You might specifically want to apply for divorce in England and Wales instead another country because the divorce laws are likely to be more favourable here.

It’s important to note that you can’t just pick and choose to divorce in a particular country because you prefer their rules. To be allowed to file a divorce petition in England and Wales, you do need to meet the requirements but you don’t need to necessarily live in England or Wales.

Circumstances to Apply for Divorce in England and Wales

Here are some of the circumstances that would allow you to get a divorce in England and Wales, even if you live in another country:

  • If you lived together as a couple in England and Wales, were habitually resident here and your ex still lives here
  • If your ex is habitually resident in England and Wales you can issue divorce proceedings You don’t have to have lived here as a couple
  • If your ex is domiciled in England and Wales.

We explain the Difference between Habitual Residence and Domicile in Divorce here.

These requirements are covered in EU regulations so they could potentially change after Brexit. It’s possible that they will stay the same, so contact us and we’ll be happy to help you.

Understanding whether you can apply for a divorce in England and Wales can be complicated so you should get specialist legal advice from a Divorce Solicitor who is experienced in dealing with International Divorce cases. They can consider all the factors involved, especially related to the legal definitions of domicile and habitual residency.

If you need help deciding whether you can and should start the Divorce Process in England and Wales, call and speak to one of our specialist Divorce Solicitors, or request a callback using the form below.

For initial advice call our Family Law & Divorce Solicitors

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