The Evening Standard is reporting this week on the impact of Brexit on what is known by family lawyers as divorce tourism or forum shopping. In other words, the ability of one or both of a couple to divorce in more than one jurisdiction, but to choose the one that will give the best financial outcome.
London has widely been regarded at the divorce capital of choice, particularly for wealthy wives who were likely to fare better before UK courts than anywhere else in the world. Until now, a divorce in one EU member state is automatically recognised in any other member state, so couples would often race to be the first to start the divorce off in their preferred country, where the proceedings would generally then stay.
However, EU rules will no longer apply after the Brexit transition period runs out on 31st December and the rule that the first one to initiate the divorce ‘bags’ that jurisdiction will no longer apply. Even if one of the couple starts the divorce in the UK, there could be a long and costly argument – across international jurisdictions – from the other party that another jurisdiction is more appropriate.
This all sounds pretty technical but what it means in simple terms is this: if you’re a European who might have a choice as to where your divorce takes place, you only have until the end of the year to be sure of securing the English court to do so.
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Englands family courts are braced for a spike in divorce cases before the end of the Brexit transition as couples try to avoid being locked in protracted and costly international legal battles
London has earned the tag of 'divorce capital of the world as wives and dependants of millionaires head to the High Court to try to take advantage of generous maintenance and child support orders in this country.
Under EU rules, divorces filed and finalised in a member state are automatically recognised in other European countries. However, that agreement is due to expire at the end of December when the Brexit transition period ends.