Financial Provision after an Overseas Divorce
The English family court does have power to make financial orders even though a divorce may have started and finished in another country.
Part III of the Matrimonial & Family Proceedings Act 1984 (MFPA 1984) provides the English family court with a discretion to make financial orders as if the divorce had occured here.
What steps do I need to consider for a financial claim after an overseas divorce?
- The couple must have been validly divorced in a foreign country
- You must satisfy certain jurisdictional grounds in England & Wales around domicile and/or habitual residence or, for example, there was a matrimonial home here.
- The financial claims must have been dealt with by the foreign court (unless there is an agreement to potentially deal with the financial claims here)
How do I make a financial claim after an overseas divorce?
First, this is a very complex area of international family law and you must seek specialist advice from a divorce solicitor. There has to be a substantial ground and not just a good case.
There is a 2-step process:
You need to ask for the court’s permission to make the application. The family judge needs to consider:
- The parties’ connection to England & Wales and the other countries
- The benefit you (or any child) would receive as a result of the foreign court’s order
- What financial orders have been made and whether your partner will comply or is likely to
- What rights you have in the foreign country to pursue the financial case there and any explanation if these steps have not been taken
- What assets (and pensions) are actually in England &Wales
- Whether or not any English order will be enforced overseas
- The length of time that has elapsed
If permission is granted to make a financial claim after an overseas divorce, the case will be transferred to a local court and you will need to comply with the normal procedure for financial cases. Sometimes a family judge can restrict the financial claims you can make as part of this international family law case.
What happens if I have remarried?
If you have remarried, you will not be allowed to make a financial claim. It does not matter, however, if your ex-partner has remarried.
How can we help you?
This is a very complex area of law. If any of these issues affect you, then please call us as we can help you.
Maguire Family Law are experts in child relocation and international cases involving children. James Maguire is a Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He is also on the panel for a number of embassies including the US Embassy and British Consulates overseas. We also have contact to several leading lawyers worldwide.