International family law solicitors

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Overcoming the challenges to help you resolve your international relationship breakdown

As a leading international family law team, we have extensive experience of supporting our clients with specialist knowledge and advice to help resolve their international relationship issues.

If you are living with or are married to someone from outside the UK, or you have been living in another country, the situation becomes more complicated legally if your relationship breaks down.

What is international family law?

International family law is a branch of law that deals with the legal issues arising from international family relationships, including divorce, child custody, and financial matters. It involves understanding the laws of different countries and how they interact in cross-border cases. International family law can be complex, and it is important to seek the advice of a specialist lawyer with experience in this area.

Joanna Farrands

Joanna Farrands

Partner | Family

01483 543223

The intricacies of family law across borders

One of the main issues is in which jurisdiction the divorce or other family issues are settled, especially if your relationship breaks down outside the UK. This could be time-sensitive; the time and date the proceedings are issued can influence where they will take place. If children are involved and are currently in another country, with whom they live and the visiting arrangements can become even more emotionally charged issues. There may be aspects of international relocation to consider if you each wish to live in different countries after the separation or divorce. It’s important to get specialist advice from one of our lawyers experienced international family law as early as possible in the process.

Other aspects of the case that may become more complex when different jurisdictions are involved are wealth protection and the division of the financial assets upon a divorce. Pre- and post-nuptial agreements can be especially helpful in in avoiding some of these difficulties, provided they are drawn up to reflect the laws in different jurisdictions, which our team of expert solicitors will be able to assist you with.

Many of our clients are ex-pats living abroad or people who have married non-UK nationals and have homes in both countries. As part of our international law practice, we recognise and understand the complications that can arise from these specific relationship issues and have the resources and knowledge to give you appropriate, pragmatic advice. We also work closely with specialist Barristers in this field of family law.

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How we can help

Some of the areas where our expert advice is most often required in relation to international family matters include:

  • Divorce: advice on the correct jurisdiction for where the divorce should take place.
  • Child abduction: when a child is unlawfully removed by one parent or a third party from the other. It is essential in cases like these that you act quickly with a legal response.
  • Relocation: when one partner wishes to relocate to another country after the separation.
  • Securing a financial settlement: making sure that the final financial agreement deals with the assets in all jurisdictions.
  • Obtaining a financial settlement after a foreign divorce: when a divorce occurs in another jurisdiction, but claims have to be made in the courts of England and Wales after that has concluded for assets located here such as property or pension rights.

Contact us

We have offices in LondonRichmondSouthamptonGuildfordLymington and Woking and offer specialist support and advice to clients nationally and internationally. Please contact us for more information.

We are here to help

Start an online enquiry by completing our short questionnaire.

Contact our family team

Frequently asked questions about international family law

What is international family law?

International family law refers to family legal issues that cross borders. This could be where a UK national is navigating divorce proceedings in another jurisdiction, where there are overseas assets that need to be divided in a divorce, or when arrangements need to be made for children who possibly live or spend much of their time in another country or have dual nationality.

This can be very challenging due to the varying laws in different countries which add a layer of complexity to proceedings. It can be hard to manage a separation or divorce at any time, but when international issues are involved, it’s even more important to make sure that your interests and rights are protected and represented appropriately.

When there are children involved emotions are heightened. However, with the addition of international legal issues, such as where the children are habitually resident or where they spend their time overseas, this can add to the distress felt at this difficult time.

Whether the issue is around where the child or children will live, who will be caring for them for the majority of the time, where and how they will be educated, how and when the other parent will be able to spend time with them or any financial provision for the children, this all needs to be considered in the context of the different laws in the countries involved.

Therefore, it’s of the utmost importance that you access specialist advice to help manage the situation throughout the process.

Separating finances and coming to an agreement on the division of any assets is often one of the most protracted aspects of any divorce or separation especially where there are overseas assets to take into consideration. You and your spouse/partner might have properties overseas, business interests and shares in foreign companies; there may be off-shore trusts and foreign account/investments that need to be properly analysed to achieve a fair and comprehensive financial agreement after the separation.

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