International Family Lawyers
Josiah-Lake Gardiner’s international divorce lawyers regularly advise clients involved in highly complex international jurisdiction and financial matters. Our specialist team of international divorce solicitors can assist with your case in Europe or further afield.
We always take time to understand our clients individual requirements and focus on helping them achieve the best possible result. Whatever your situation, you’re in safe hands with our vastly experienced international divorce lawyers.
To book an initial consultation with our expert international divorce solicitors in London, simply call 020 3709 8975 or complete our online enquiry form.
What Josiah-Lake Gardiner Can Advise You On
International divorce cases are those where either you or your spouse has international connections to a particular country. This connection could exist by birth, working in particular country or as a result of owning property overseas.
Unsurprisingly, these cases can be very complicated, as financial settlements and other consequences of divorce can differ enormously from country to country. A particular factual situation may produce a very different result if adjudicated outside of the UK. For this reason, a lot depends on where the divorce or civil partnership dissolution takes place.
Our experienced team of international divorce lawyers will be able to advise you not only on the appropriate forum for the divorce, but also on financial settlements and the arrangements for any children of the family.
If however the divorce has already started in another jurisdiction, our international divorce lawyers can partner with lawyers overseas to ensure you are properly represented and that the court has a complete picture of the worldwide assets. This will also help to ensure your financial needs and concerns are taken into account in that jurisdiction and that the deciding court, although not bound to adhere to it or even to give weight to it, is aware of the approach that the Family Court in this jurisdiction would take.
Our international divorce lawyers can also advise you in respect to child arrangements, who may be required to fly between different countries to spend time with each parent. Also, if required, we can seek freezing injunctions (including worldwide orders) where there is a concern that assets may be placed out of the court’s reach.
Where Should I Start Divorce Proceedings?
The fact that a marriage took place in a particular country does not mean that the divorce also has to take place in the same country. Equally, if you were married in or have lived most of the time in England, it may be advantageous to one of you to issue proceedings in another country with which there is a connection. Accordingly, if either you or your spouse has connections overseas, our international divorce lawyers can advise you on choosing the best country in which to file for the divorce.
If proceedings are continuing in this jurisdiction and it is apparent that your partner is deliberately hiding assets offshore, we can take relevant action. A common example here involves issuing a freezing injunction, where there is a concern that assets may be placed out of the court’s reach. Such actions would prevent the transfer, sale or disposal of offshore assets.
If court action is needed in the country in which the assets are being held in order to preserve them, we will partner with family lawyers overseas in this regard. The Family Court has various powers available to it when confronted with this situation including ordering the imprisonment of the offending party.
Can I Get Divorced In The UK If I Live Overseas?
It will be possible for you to bring proceedings for divorce or dissolution in this jurisdiction if you satisfy the habitual residence or domicile requirements.
Your ‘habitual residence’ is essentially where you live – the place in which your life is mainly based. You must be settled there and intend to remain settled there.
Your ‘domicile’ is something different altogether. It describes the country that you consider to be your home or the country where you have your permanent home. It is acquired at birth but can be changed consciously. An example here would be moving permanently to another country and renouncing your domicile at birth.
If you were born overseas, but are now living in this jurisdiction, when deciding whether you have indeed acquired a domicile of choice in England and Wales, you need to establish an intention to make your home in England and Wales permanently or indefinitely.
Brexit will inevitably affect how proceedings involving a European connection can be commenced in this jurisdiction. Thus far, the proposed ‘fix’ does not do that. In the main Brexit statutory instrument, the government has elevated sole domicile to a primary ground of jurisdiction. However, it seems that in making the relevant changes to our domestic legislation in this way, sole domicile remains a residual rather than primary ground of jurisdiction for divorce and civil partnership dissolution.
Thus, only opposite-sex married couples can rely on the sole domicile ground as the basis of jurisdiction for divorce. Although, if you are in a same-sex marriage or civil partnership, you will not be able to rely on the sole domicile ground after we leave the EU (if indeed we ultimately do until this issue is remedied).
How Can I Divorce My Partner Overseas?
If you wish to divorce your partner overseas, you will be required to have sufficient connection to that other country, entitling you to bring proceedings there.
Specialist advice in this regard may be needed and our international divorce solicitors will be able to make contact with family lawyers in the relevant jurisdiction to consider whether you can do so, and if so, whether it would be beneficial for you divorce overseas.
To further discuss how our international divorce solicitors at Josiah-Lake Gardiner can help, please call today on 020 3709 8975 or complete the online enquiry form for an initial consultation.
Do I Need To Travel To The UK For The Divorce?
Although you may have been in the UK, you may not need to travel to the UK for the purpose of dissolving your marriage or civil partnership.
However, should you wish the court to make orders in respect of financial matters or the arrangements for the children (or to be heard in respect of these issues), you may well be required to attend court in the UK.
What Happens To Our Assets?
When an international divorce takes places, it’s natural to consider any implications upon your assets.
In general, the marital assets will be be dealt with in the country in which the proceedings for divorce were brought although it is possible to apply for financial remedies in this jurisdiction even after a foreign decree of divorce. Where matters are proceeding in this jurisdiction, if you and your spouse are unable to reach a financial settlement out of court, one of you may need to make an application to the Family Court. This will commence financial remedy proceedings here, with the aim of either agreeing or having the court impose a final order financial settlement.
Both of you are required to provide full financial disclosure with supporting documentary evidence to ensure clarity with respect to your financial positions. After an initial fact-finding gathering hearing (the First Directions Appointment), there is an opportunity for you to reach agreement at court with the assistance of the judge, before a final hearing is scheduled and an order made by the judge after hearing evidence and submissions.
The courts are able to make the following orders:
1. Periodical payments (otherwise known as maintenance) for a spouse and any children of the family;
2. A lump sum order (a cash payment);
3. A property adjustment order including the sale or transfer of any property;
4. A pension sharing order (effectively splitting any pension assets between the spouses).
The judge dealing with the matter has the final decision on how the assets are divided. The court strives to decide what the fairest way to divide the assets is but arrangements regarding the children (in terms of their housing) have the highest priority. The way in which a family’s assets are divided on international divorce is complex and a whole range of factors are taken into account as follows:
(a) The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each spouse has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
(b) The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each spouse has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
(c) The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
(d) The age of each spouse and the duration of the marriage;
(e) Any physical or mental disability of either of the spouses;
(f) The contributions which each spouse has made or is likely to make in the foreseeable future to the welfare of the family;
(g) The conduct of each spouse if in the opinion of the court it would be inequitable to disregard such (note though that this does not mean behaviour such as adultery and would need to be of a financial nature);
(h) The value of any benefit which the spouse will lose the chance to acquiring by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage.
At Josiah-Lake Gardiner, our international divorce solicitors are backed with a wealth of experience in guiding our clients through the divorce process. Our unique ability to understand your situation, establish your goals and advise on the best possible strategy sets us apart from other family law firms. Schedule an initial consultation with our expert international divorce lawyers today by calling 020 3709 8975.
International Divorce And Arrangements For Children
When a relationship breaks down, the key issues to be decided in connection with the children are with whom they will primarily live with and how much time (if any) they will spend with the other parent.
If either parent of the child is living overseas (or indeed if the child is at boarding school overseas), we at Josiah-Lake Gardiner can advise you in respect of the appropriate arrangements for the child who may be required to fly between different countries to spend time with each parent but mindful always that the Family Court in this jurisdiction may not be able to determine such issues. If that were to be the case, we could work with family lawyers in the appropriate jurisdiction about such arrangements to assist you.
Within the UK, a child arrangements order means an order directing with whom a child is to live (a child arrangements ‘lives with’ order) and with whom a child is to spend time or otherwise have contact (a child arrangements ‘spends time with’ order). Thus, whilst a ‘lives with’ order confirms with whom a child is to live, a ‘spends time with’ order deals with whom the child is to see or otherwise have contact. Such order could be either direct (face to face contact whether on a visiting or staying basis) or indirect (by letter, telephone, email, text, Skype, FaceTime etc).
In the vast majority of cases, the arrangements for the children can be agreed without any involvement of solicitors, but, where parents cannot agree with whom the children should live, they may need advice and assistance from specialist international divorce lawyers, such as our team at Josiah-Lake Gardiner.
How Much Does An International Divorce Cost?
Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this question. The legal costs for international divorce matters depend on the length of time it takes to conclude the divorce and to reach agreement both in respect of the arrangements for any children and the division of assets.
However, at Josiah-Lake Gardiner we pride ourselves on offering very competitive rates and employ a transparent approach to our fees, ensuring there are no financial surprises along the way.
In respect of the divorce decree or dissolution order itself, the costs could start from as little as £1,000 plus vat plus the court fee of £550, if the proceedings are commenced by agreement in this jurisdiction and they are undefended.
With regard to the costs involved in respect of other issues, a lot will depend on the issue for which you are seeking advice (including sale of the family home and child arrangements), the length of time it takes to conclude matters, whether an out of court agreement is possible, the involvement of family lawyers in other jurisdictions, the stance taken by your spouse and what you ultimately want to achieve.
Broadly, an out of court divorce settlement could cost between £5,000 and £7,500 plus vat. A more complex matter could cost up to and sometimes more than £15,000 plus vat. At an initial meeting, we would be able to give a more definitive idea of likely costs as we do understand that it is important that you know from the outset what your legal fees are likely to amount to.
For this reason, we provide our clients with a bespoke costs plan and time estimate at the outset of a case (for which there is no charge) with regular updates as needed.
How Long Does An International Divorce Case Take?
If dealing only with a divorce or dissolution, it takes between 5 and 8 months from the date of the filing of the petition to the date of the decree absolute or dissolution order. However, the length of time will always depend upon your particular circumstances.
Generally, the divorce would not be finalised until the other matters are resolved and it could take 12 months from the date of filing of a court application in relation to financial matters for a final award to be made. As regards to the timings of international divorce proceedings, we would seek guidance in this regard from specialist expert family lawyers in those jurisdictions.
Regions Our Team Covers
Our international divorce lawyers are able to deal with any case that contains an international aspect, whether Europe or further afield. We can issue proceedings in this country so long as the Family Court has jurisdiction to deal with the matter. David Josiah-Lake is also a member of the New York (US) State Bar.
Experienced International Divorce Lawyers
We, at Josiah-Lake Gardiner, will guide you through the process of your international divorce/dissolution, explaining the procedure and possible outcomes.
Our experienced team of international divorce solicitors will always endeavour to minimise the emotional distress of divorce on all members of the family, with particular emphasis on assisting clients to minimise as much as it is possible to do the emotional impact on any children of the family. We will fully explain the procedure at the outset of the case and will keep you updated at every stage.
To understand how Josiah-Lake Gardiner can help you, please contact our international divorce lawyers today on 020 3709 8975 or complete the online enquiry form.