“Shopping Around” For an International Divorce

With so many people moving abroad to live, work and start families, it is now becoming more common for a family lawyer to have to deal with trans-national issues.

Under the Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 (know as Brussels II) people can choose to divorce in any of: (1) their country of residence, (2) the country of residence of their spouse, or (3) the country that is the nationality of both of them (it’s not quite that simple but you get the idea!).

Whilst it is always important to those getting divorced to consider which forum would get them the best deal, one matter that is often overlooked is the fact that a country dealing with a divorce also has the power to make orders in respect of children, even if the child has never lived there.

All the more important therefore for specialist advice to be taken at an early stage.

I can’t help but wonder, though, that this practical (and necessary) piece of EU legislation has the effect of encouraging couples to issue divorce proceedings more quickly, rather than take time to consider if a marriage can be saved.