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Foreign Marriages and Divorce

What will be recognised in an English court?

If you were married or divorced abroad it is important for you to know whether that act will be recognised in England.

This is important because your marital status can affect a wide range of issues including:

  • Immigration
  • Tax
  • Welfare benefits
  • Wills and inheritance
  • Succession
  • The legitimacy of children
  • Financial issues at the time of relationship breakdown

We are able to advise on a range of matters relating to foreign marriages and divorce including:

  • Whether a marriage that took place abroad will be recognised in England and Wales. This will depend on whether the marriage complied with the formalities of the law of the country in which it took place, and whether you had the legal capacity to marry.
  • The recognition of foreign divorces. This can be complex and the test for its validity will depend on how the divorce was obtained in the other country and your connection with that country at the time.
  • Whether you can bring an application before the English court for a financial order following a foreign divorce. If you have been divorced outside of England and Wales you may be able to do this, depending on the circumstances of your individual case. See also ‘Financial Provision after a Foreign Divorce’.
 

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Guidance

Spousal Maintenance or Alimony Calculator

Prepared by iFLG based on the law to help individuals and couples towards reaching a settlement.

Gender duress in marital agreements: an Australian case study

Marital agreements are not yet part of English cultural life. But undoubtedly family lawyers are now being increasingly asked to draft them. For many of us, our continued anxiety and worry is the pressure put on the financially weaker party, often although not always the wife, to enter into an agreement which is less good than relying on the law. Sometimes it can be very disadvantageous.

DB v PB: Unfair marital agreements, chaos of EU law and unusual routes to fairness

David Hodson OBE 

Divorce Settlement Calculator

Prepared by iFLG based on the law to help individuals and couples towards reaching a settlement.

iGuide: Recognition of Foreign Divorce

If you were married outside of England and Wales it is important to know whether your marriage will be recognised here. This iGuide explains the requirements for a marriage to be recognised here.

iGuide: Where should I divorce?

On relationship breakdown there is potentially opportunity to divorce or dissolve your civil partnership in more than one country. This iGuide sets out some of the things that you should take into account when deciding where to divorce.

iGuide: Divorces Within Europe

Where you can potentially divorce in one or more European Country extreme caution is required. Our iGuide sets out a little more of the difficulties in this situation.

iGuide: Divorces Outside of Europe

This iGuide explains some of the issues where one or more countries (one being outside of Europe) can potentially deal with a divorce.

iGuide: Enforcing Foreign Financial Orders in England

The enforcement of orders made abroad in England is a complex area. Here is our iGuide to the process.

FAQ: Foreign marriages & divorce

Frequently asked questions ­about Foreign marriages & divorce

Podcast: Family Cases with an International Dimension

David Hodson speaks on family cases with an international dimension. For a lawyer dealing primarily with purely national cases, it can be rather a shock when a case arrives with an international element. What should the practitioner be alert to and what issues should be looked at?

The Family Law Show: Programme 3 - Recognition of Foreign Marriages and Divorces

Lucy Loizou talks with Hannah Budd about the recognition of foreign marriages and divorces and whether you can claim further financial provision in the event that you have been divorced abroad and feel that you have received an unfair financial outcome

High Court awards £453m in divorce proceedings – but finds no departure from equality

Fatimah Farag, assistant solicitor, looks at the recent decision of AAZ v BBZ and the Court’s approach to the parties’ huge levels of wealth.

AAZ v BBZ, C Ltd and P Ltd [2016] EWHC 3234 (Fam), a financial relief case heard by Haddon-Cave J in late November and early December 2016 with judgment released on 12 May 2017, sees the High Court make one of the largest awards in an English case. 

Have you been divorced abroad? English Financial Settlements after a Foreign Divorce

Even though there has been a divorce abroad the English Family Court has discretion to make a financial order against a former husband or wife. This can overcome financial hardship when the divorce courts of the other country made an inadequate financial settlement.

Legal and practical things to consider if you are marrying abroad...

With more people marrying abroad it is essential that couples consider the legal and practical implications of their foreign marriage.

EU approves European divorce enhanced co-operation

David Hodson's summary of the content of the Regulation drawing attention to crucial elements for practitioners, clients and future policymakers