Skip to content
Divorce, separation and civil 3C

Divorce – issuing in the English court

The breakdown of your relationship is difficult enough without the added complications of international law.

If you’re considering a divorce, our specialist team of lawyers can help guide you through the process.

Under European legislation, the English court has jurisdiction to deal with a petition for divorce (or judicial separation) if one of the following factors apply:

  • You are both “habitually resident” (main place of residence) in England and Wales
  • You were both last habitually resident in England and Wales, and one of you still resides there
  • The respondent party to the divorce is habitually resident in England and Wales
  • The applicant party to the divorce has resided in England and Wales for at least one year immediately before the application for divorce was made
  • The applicant party to the divorce resided in England and Wales for at least six months immediately before the application for divorce was made and is either a national of England and Wales or is “domiciled” (place of permanent residence) there
  • If your application for divorce is a joint one, either one of you is habitually resident in England and Wales
  • Both of you are nationals of England and Wales, or are both domiciled there

Usually the answer to the above seven factors points to the same jurisdiction, but it is possible that more than one jurisdiction could apply. However, it could be important to one party that a particular jurisdiction is chosen (sometimes referred to as forum shopping) and therefore it can be important to act quickly and early on in the process. Our team will be happy to advise you in these circumstances.

You should also be aware that the factors mentioned above only apply to heterosexual marriages. This is due to the lack of cross-border recognition within the EU of the validity of same sex marriages.

Most of the individual member states of the EU have their own procedure for the divorce of same sex couples or the dissolution of civil partnerships, but not all. Therefore some same sex couples may have trouble divorcing in the country where they are resident.

Latest News & Blogs

Civil partnerships update

A welcome change to family law coming in May 2019 will allow mixed-sex couples the option of entering into a civil partnership, instead of a traditional marriage.

National single parent day

One in four children lives with only one parent in the UK. Some parents are single by design, others as a result of relationship breakdown. Whatever your circumstances, here are some important things to think about on National Single Parent Day.

International Family Law specialists

Sign up to our newsletters - receive updates on our latest legal topics and news