DIVORCE POST BREXIT
For many people starting divorce proceedings, there can be questions as to what country or court has the official power or “jurisdiction” to deal with the proceedings. As with many areas of our day-to-day life, Brexit has had an impact on this! From 1 January 2021 onwards the grounds for “jurisdiction” to start divorce proceedings in England and Wales have been slightly varied to add sole domicile as a ground to demonstrate the courts have the power to deal with the divorce.
The possible grounds to establish jurisdiction for divorce in England and Wales are:
- Both parties to the marriage are habitually resident in England and Wales;
- Both parties to the marriage were last habitually resident in England and Wales and one of them continues to reside there;
- The respondent is habitually resident in England and Wales;
- The applicant is habitually resident in England and Wales and has resided there for at least one year immediately before the application was made;
- The applicant is domiciled and habitually resident in England and Wales and has resided there for at least six months immediately before the application was made.
- Both parties to the marriage are domiciled in England and Wales; or
- Either of the parties to the marriage is domiciled in England and Wales.
Please do contact a member of our team today to discuss which grounds to establish jurisdiction may apply to you.
Competing jurisdictions – establishing “closest connections”
If there is a dispute of jurisdiction between a court in England & Wales and the court of an EU member state, the test used to be “who got in first”. However from 1 January 2021 onwards it is now which country has the closest connection with the divorce, giving Judges discretion in this area. The courts in England & Wales will consider many factors to establish ‘closest connection’, such as:
- Where assets are held
- The alternative court being put forward
- Where children are attending school
- Cultural background
View more information here on the Law Society website: https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/en/topics/brexit/divorce-after-brexit
You should always take expert legal advice if you believe there may be jurisdiction issues in your divorce. Please contact us today on 03331 2 12345 or email@example.com to discuss your case.
Check in with our blog later in the month, when we will set out the new divorce rules in light of “no fault divorce” coming into effect from 6 April 2022 onwards.