Ex-Pat Divorce Myths

Myth

“I live outside the UK and I’ve read that the English courts are the most generous in the world to wives, so I have decided to divorce in England.”

Fact: Click to view

This may be possible, but it is a very complex subject and depends upon a legal concept known as “domicile”. If you and your ex have no real connection with England – and never have had – you are unlikely to be able to divorce here. A specialist family lawyer will be able to advise more fully on your unique case.

Myth

“I live in Sweden and although my husband and I can get divorced in England, there’s no point as I’ll have to keep coming back for court appearances.”

Fact: Click to view

If your divorce is straight forward and there is an agreement between you and your spouse, there should be no need for any court appearances. Your lawyer will prepare and file all the necessary paperwork for you. Depending on your financial circumstances, there may be good reasons for you to use the English court system rather than the Swedish one – for example, Swedish courts do not normally award maintenance.

Myth

“I was married to my husband in the UK, which was our home for 20 years. We have been living in Hong Kong for two years and have now separated. I wish to get divorced but have been told that I have to petition in Hong Kong.”

Fact: Click to view

Just because you are living outside of the UK does not necessarily mean the UK courts do not have jurisdiction to deal with your divorce. Legal advice will need to be sought on whether any other countries have jurisdiction and then it will need to be decided whether or not you can show that the UK is your country of domicile, something normally achieved quite easily if you have a UK passport, you intend to return to live here or have assets here.

Myth

“I am English but live in South America so I can’t divorce in England.”

Fact: Click to view

You probably can divorce in England, though whether you should is a very complex subject that needs specialist legal advice. The right to divorce in England if you are living outside the UK is dependant upon a legal principle called domicile. For example, if you were both born in England and intend to return here, you certainly are still domiciled in England so could still divorce here.

Myth

“I was not married in the UK. That means I have to go back to obtain a divorce in the country where I was married. ”

Fact: Click to view

Where you can divorce will depend on a number of factors but often where you are married is not relevant. Provided you or your partner are habitually resident or domiciled in the UK you can commence divorce proceedings here.