International Family Law

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The world is a more connected place than ever and this has resulted in more international families. If your case involves an international element Blacks Solicitors’ Family Law team can help.

Cross-Border Enforcement

England has a number of arrangements with other countries for the reciprocal enforcement of Orders. However, whether an Order made here can be enforced in a foreign country depends on the law in that country.

The law also depends on whether the Order is new or existing, provisional, or final and what type of Order has been made.

If your ex-partner is not complying with an Order, then we can advise you.

Divorce and Jurisdiction

If you got married abroad and the marriage complied with the legal formalities in that country, the marriage will be legally recognised here.

You will also be able to issue divorce proceedings here if you have sufficient connections with England and Wales. For example, if both or one of you are habitually resident here or the person who is beginning proceedings has been living here for six months immediately before they file their divorce petition.

If you or your spouse has connections abroad you may be able to issue divorce proceedings here or in the country where you have connections. This situation may give rise to a “race” between you both to issue proceedings in two different countries.

Divorce law can vary from country to country and it is important that you know the implications of issuing proceedings abroad (known as “forum shopping”), and our Family Law team can help you to reach the best decision for you.

Financial Relief After Overseas Divorce

It is possible to apply for Financial Relief in this country even if you have obtained your divorce overseas. “Overseas” means anywhere except the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. To enable you to apply, the divorce/annulment or legal separation must be recognised here as being valid and either of you must:

  • Treat/or have treated England or Wales as a permanent home either now or at the time of divorce
  • Have lived in England or Wales for a year ending with the date of your application or lived in England or Wales for a year ending with the date of divorce/annulment or legal separation took effect
  • At the date of application had a beneficial interest in a house situated in England or Wales and at some point it was the former matrimonial home

If you have subsequently remarried or formed a civil partnership you can’t make a Financial Relief Application after an overseas divorce.

As long as the marriage was recognised here and you have sufficient connections with England or Wales you can ask the Courts here to consider your Application for Financial Relief. The Court must first decide whether to allow an Application by assessing whether it has merit.

If you have divorced elsewhere and wish to discuss your options in relation to finances, we can help.

Finances and Overseas Assets

Blacks’ Family Law team are recognised in The Legal 500 as being experienced in dealing with overseas assets within financial disputes and can assist with cases involving hidden or undisclosed assets.

If you believe that your spouse may be hiding assets from you in an attempt to present their income or general wealth as lower than it is in reality, we can help.


We are also recognised in The Legal 500 as having an extensive track record in Private Children Applications including those involving cross-border residence and contact issues.

It is important that you act quickly and seek to discuss your situation with a solicitor if you are worried your child may be permanently taken abroad. Please see our section on disputes concerning children for more information.


If you would like more information about Blacks’ services, please email or call our Family Law team today on 0113 227 9285.