Divorce & Separation

Legal Jurisdiction in Divorce Proceedings

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Legal Jurisdiction in Divorce Proceedings

There is much speculation as to which legal jurisdiction favours husband/wives within financial provision on divorce. There is anecdotal evidence of wives seeking to issue divorce proceedings in England to access what is thought to be “generous” financial provisions.

As between countries in the EU, the rules in relation to which nations Courts have jurisdiction to deal with divorce have now been harmonised under EU regulations. Jurisdiction shall lie with the state in whose jurisdiction the parties:

(a) are habitually resident or

(b) were last habitually resident together if one of them still resides there or

(c) where the Respondent is habitually resident or

(d) where the Petitioner is habitually resident – having resided there for at least 12 months immediately before the petition is filed or

(e) where the Petitioner is habitually resident – having resided there for at least 6 months immediately before the presentation of the petition AND the Petitioner is either a UK citizen or domiciled in the UK.In relation to the question of jurisdiction arising between England and a non EU jurisdiction the test is as to whether the Petitioner is entitled to claim domicile within England & Wales.

It is important to understand that:

“Habitually Resident” means the country in which an individual lives voluntarily and with a settled intention to remain.

“Domiciled” broadly means the legal jurisdiction to which an individual voluntarily submits themselves.

Issues of jurisdiction only arise relatively infrequently in respect of divorce proceedings and the material set out above is a simplified summary of the position only.

We are only able to advise in relation to the law as it applies in England and Wales and if you wish to compare possible outcomes in alternative jurisdictions you would need to take separate specialist matrimonial advice from lawyers with knowledge of that jurisdiction.

We are able to advise as to whether English Courts are likely to have jurisdiction to hear your case.

Chris Kingham

Solicitor
CONTACT

Jeremy Sogno

Solicitor
CONTACT

Mary Browne

Solicitor
CONTACT
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