What Does Brexit Mean if You Want a Divorce?

Author:
Agata Osinska
Family Law Associate Solicitor, Polish Team
Date:
11/01/2019

Divorce is never easy and current laws don’t make it any easier for separating couples. But uncertainty surrounding Brexit has added an extra layer of difficulty.

For all people in the UK that want to get a divorce in an English Court, there are huge question marks over what will actually happen once the UK leaves the European Union. Currently, the jurisdiction in regards to divorce proceedings is governed by European legislation, specifically in a Brussels Regulation known as Brussels IIa.

There will be a need for new laws to replace this. But on what basis? Should parties still be able to file for divorce based on habitual residence? Or whether there will be other options?

We simply don’t know.

What people don’t realise is that jurisdiction in divorce is now still closely linked to jurisdiction in financial proceedings, so lack of clarity can create even more issues than we wish to admit.

There are three options here:

      • The current Brussels Regulation is completely incorporated into national law
      • It’s incorporated into national law, but not recognised by other EU members
      • It isn’t incorporated at all and we start the process of creating new laws from scratch.

The difficulty here is not only the clarity of law within the UK, but also the recognition of the Court Orders made by Courts here in other countries.

With the world being so open now and people constantly relocating, one doesn’t want to find out a few years after they obtain a divorce and moved to another European country that that country doesn’t actually recognise that they’re divorced. This might create significant issues.

There’s so much uncertainty surrounding Brexit, however, that means this may affect you personally if you’re considering getting a divorce or find yourself in a situation when you need to file for divorce.

We hope that closer to the date, more information will come to light to give us some guidance in this regard and in many others. But if it doesn’t, people will still be able to get divorced. The important question to ask is whether it will be more difficult and costly and what will be the actual consequences of obtaining a divorce?

Now more than ever, you need a Divorce Solicitor to help you through this maze of legal jargon and uncertainty, to make sure you not only get a divorce but also ensure it’s done as smoothly as possible, with your best interests in mind both now and in the long-term.

The divorce process isn’t easy and there’s no point making it even more difficult.

At Simpson Millar, we deal with many cross-border divorce cases and enforcing them in other member states, so we have the expertise to be able to do this for you, even with Brexit uncertainty hanging over our heads.

 

For initial advice call our Family Law & Divorce Solicitors

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