Divorce Financial Settlements After Overseas Divorces
Some husbands or wives think that if they get divorced overseas there is no chance that the English family court will be able to order a divorce financial settlement. That isn’t necessarily right as the English court may have the power to make a financial court order. It is best to understand that before you decide on where to start divorce proceedings when you are an international family with the potential choice of several countries in which to commence an application for a divorce.
In this article, our family law solicitors take a look at the circumstances where you can ask the English courts to make a financial court order after your divorce proceedings took place overseas.
Online and London Family Law Solicitors
Financial settlements after an overseas divorce
You may be able to get a financial settlement from the English court if you got divorced overseas and:
- You did not get a financial court order in the overseas divorce court or
- You got a financial court order after your overseas divorce but the order was not sufficient
To bring a claim for a financial court order to be made in England after your overseas divorce you need to meet the eligibility criteria contained in part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984.
If you are not sure if you can bring a financial claim in England speak to our friendly family law solicitors for advice on 0203 959 9123.
Do you need to be a British citizen to bring a claim under part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984?
You do not need to be a British citizen to bring a claim under part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984. Nor do you need to have settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme or indefinite leave to remain in the UK. The law says that all you need is to have a ‘sufficient connection’ to England.
The test of sufficient connection could potentially be met if you are living in the UK on a spouse visa or skilled worker visa or business visa or dependant visa. You do not need to have committed to settling in the UK.
The law says that there is a sufficient connection where:
- You or your ex-husband or ex-wife was domiciled in England at the time of your overseas divorce or at the time of the application. If you aren’t sure about the legal meaning of domicile, and how it applies to you, our family law and immigration law specialists can advise you
- You or your ex-husband or ex-wife were habitually resident in England for 12 months before the date on which your overseas divorce was completed or for 12 months before the date of the application. Habitual residence is a legal concept and you could be classed as habitually resident in the UK after entry clearance on a time-limited visa, such as a spouse visa or skilled worker visa
- You or your ex-husband or ex-wife has an interest in a property in England. The property needs to have been the family home or matrimonial home. It cannot have been an investment property or business property. If you bring a claim under part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 based on the fact the court has jurisdiction because of your sufficient connection to property in England, you do not need to be the legal owner of the property to make a claim but your claim is limited to the value of the property. That is why it is important and best to check whether you are either domiciled or habitually resident in England as your 1984 Act claim is then not limited to the value of the property in England
Eligibility criteria to apply for a divorce financial settlement after an overseas divorce
In addition to needing to prove that you have a ‘sufficient connection’ to England, you also need to be able to show that:
- Your divorce is legally valid and
- You have not remarried
If you satisfy the eligibility criteria then the next stage is to make a court application for permission to apply for an order under the 1984 Act. Once you have got permission, you can pursue your full application and ask the English court to make a financial court order.
Divorce financial settlements after an overseas divorce
Understandably, you will want to know what you will get if you apply for permission to claim under the 1984 Act. That way you can balance up whether the court application is justified because of the potential legal costs and timescales. Family law solicitors say it is often best to flag up the potential for a 1984 Act claim to help you negotiate a fair financial settlement after an overseas divorce.
If you need to pursue a claim under part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984, you will need to be able to show that either:
- You tried to get a reasonable financial provision in the overseas country but you did not get a court order or
- You tried to get a reasonable financial provision in the overseas country but the financial court order was unreasonable
If the court agrees that you need a financial order as you did not get a reasonable financial provision in the overseas country, the court can order:
- The transfer of property
- The sale of property
- A lump sum payment
- A pension sharing order
- Spousal maintenance
Why choose OTS Solicitors to make a part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 claim?
OTS Solicitors in London work with many international families as OTS Solicitors specialise in immigration law and family law. The lawyers are therefore well versed in the arguments on domicile, habitual residence, and reasonable financial provision. Our friendly family law solicitors can advise you on your best options and help you achieve a fair divorce financial settlement.