Financial Claims on Divorce

Financial claims out of the jurisdiction

When deciding on the most appropriate jurisdiction (in England and Wales or abroad) to bring divorce (or judicial separation) proceedings, it’s always important to consider where the financial matters arising out of the divorce will be determined.

Jurisdiction to entertain financial applications is often dependent on the existence of divorce proceedings in a particular jurisdiction. Our team of friendly lawyers will help to advise you about the best course of action for your case.

In England and Wales, the court retains the authority to make financial orders after a decree of divorce made overseas, as long as that decree of divorce is recognised in England and Wales.

If most of your assets from the marriage are held in another country then we can advise you whether an order made here is enforceable in that country.

If an order made here would not be enforceable in that country then it would be sensible to seek the advice of a lawyer there about your options. As members of MSI, the global alliance of lawyers and accountants, we can put you in touch with a lawyer in that country.

If you’re already thinking about seeking a financial order in a foreign jurisdiction then you should consider the approach the foreign court will take, such as:

  • How the foreign court usually deals with financial disclosure and expert advice
  • Whether it is possible to obtain interim maintenance while the proceedings are ongoing
  • If there is provision within that country to assist you with funding the proceedings

We can provide you with the appropriate advice and assistance that you need in order to decide on the best jurisdiction to bring proceedings.

Enforceability

Before choosing where to issue divorce proceedings it is important to make sure that:

  • Your decree of divorce will be recognised in all the countries that it needs to be
  • Any financial order that you obtain will be enforceable in the area where the assets are held

Choosing where to issue proceedings is often determined by the location of your assets and the most effective means of enforcement.

There are certain systems of mutual recognition and enforcement of financial orders between various countries across the globe, which have come about as a result of a number of international agreements and conventions.

A financial order made in a foreign country can often be registered as an order of the court of England and Wales provided that a convention of mutual recognition and enforcement applies, and either the paying party is resident here, or England and Wales is where the assets in question lie. The English courts can proceed to enforce the order once an order has been registered as an order in England and Wales.

The most common methods of enforcement in England and Wales are attachment of earnings orders, third party debt orders and charging orders over property.

Financial orders made in England and Wales can only be enforced in a foreign country if the laws of that country allow it and if that country has signed up to the agreements/conventions which allow mutual recognition and enforcement to take place.

International Family Law specialists

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