The anxieties and strain that the coronavirus pandemic has brought globally have been a significant factor in the increasing divorce levels that are being seen in countries across Europe.  It is inevitably amongst the thousands of British ex-pats living in Europe there will be couples who wish to divorce, many of whom may have a choice as to which jurisdiction in which to divorce, England & Wales or the law in the country where they reside.

Even if an individual has lived in Europe for some time, there may be factors that would allow a divorce in the English courts if there is sufficient legal connection with England.  Assuming you do not live in the UK the pivotal issue is where you are domiciled. The ability to choose the jurisdiction in which to divorce can be a vital factor. The question of domicile links an individual to a jurisdiction; when attempting to demonstrate domicile to the courts of England & Wales such factors as where a person was born and brought up, whether they have still have any connections to England, such as a pension, a property or a bank account with savings are taken into consideration. There differing criteria regarding domicile between the jurisdictions.   

If a dispute arises regarding where to divorce it is essential to take first-class legal advice. Often it can become a race to file for divorce first as the EU generally gives precedence to the proceedings that were filed first. The experienced multilingual family lawyers  in Giambrone can advise on the benefits of each jurisdiction related to divorce in England & Wales and also Spain, Italy, as well as other European countries.  Spain has 17 autonomous regions where there are often varying differences across all aspects of the law which makes it particularly vital to seek expert legal advice on the law related to the region in which you be may considering filing for divorce.  Giambrone's lawyers have extensive experience in complex cross-border divorce together with, more importantly, the many issues surrounding the care, immigration status, domicile and financial settlements surrounding children of the marriage.  Our lawyers speak a wide range of languages enabling them to discuss your divorce in your own language.

The circumstances of each couple are unique and there are many aspects that must be considered. The impact of divorce is far-reaching and jurisdiction can be a critical factor especially regarding the division of assets.  England & Wales is often considered a popular choice for the financially weaker spouse as the courts consider all assets of both parties to be assets of the marriage, regardless of whether the assets or assets were acquired prior to the marriage.  The starting point for the division of assets is fifty-fifty in the courts of England & Wales but will vary depending on the length of the marriage and other factors. 

In the case of a family business, the assets can still be included in the assets of the marriage regardless of the fact that the business may have been created some time ago but the courts will consider the interests of the other directors or partners. Also, with regard to the spouse not related to the family of the family business other than through marriage, the court will consider whether the individual worked within the business, for how long and whether their role made a contribution to its continuing success. The courts consider the financial arrangements entirely separately from the divorce.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.