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Divorce

I got married in England but we now have connections with other countries, does it mean my divorce has to be here?

No.­ The English family courts can deal with any issues concerning the marriage if there is still sufficient connection, known as “jurisdiction”, but the courts of other countries may also be able to deal with the divorce and related financial matters.­ Moreover it may be more advantageous for you for the proceedings to be in that other country.­ Urgent specialist legal advice should be taken in these circumstances before any decision is made.­

When will the English family courts deal with divorce?

There are a number of possible criteria.­ The English courts will deal with a divorce where there is a sufficient connection with England.­ Most grounds require a period of simple residency and/or the status of habitual residency by one or both spouses in England or joint domicile.­ In certain circumstances, the English family courts can deal with a divorce if both are non-resident but one is domiciled in England.­ European Union countries have identical divorce jurisdiction laws.­

What are the grounds for a divorce in England?

Divorce is only on the basis of irretrievable breakdown.­ But there are, in reality, five mandatory grounds to show irretrievable breakdown for a divorce in England; adultery, unreasonable behaviour, two years separation with consent, five years separation and desertion.­ Most divorces are on the basis of the first three.­ If the divorce is unopposed, it can be concluded as quickly as four months and there is no need for any attendance at court.­ Defended divorces result in a public hearing, are rare, expensive and are discouraged.­ The final divorce order is known as the Decree Absolute.­ This means the marriage is entirely at an end and the parties are free to remarry if they wish.­ The reason why a marriage has broken down has, invariably, no significance on financial outcomes.­

If I got married abroad, does it mean my divorce has to be in the same country?

No.­ English family courts can deal with any issues concerning marriages which took place abroad provided there is sufficient connection with England.­ This sufficient connection is known as “jurisdiction”.­

 

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