Russell Jones & Walker, one of the UK's top family law firms, has opened a specialist international divorce division in response to the demand from ex-pats wishing to get divorced in England.
The client base of Russell Jones & Walker includes people living in China, USA, Australia and Singapore, and, according to the firm's national head of family law, Amanda McAlister, there is often doubt as to which country proceedings should be issued in.
In international family law, speed is very important. This is because the country where proceedings are issued first has jurisdiction, known as Brussels II. Choosing where to issue proceedings is known as forum shopping and in effect, this means there is often a race between the divorcing couple to issue proceedings first.
Amanda said: "The reason so many want to use the English and Welsh courts to get divorced is because it often provides a fairer outcome, the process tends to be quicker than other countries and frequently more effective.
"For example, an English family might be living in Sweden due to the husband's job. The husband tells his wife he has met someone else and as a result, wants a divorce. In this scenario, we would advise the wife to issue a Divorce Petition here as soon as possible as if the husband beats her to it and issues first in Sweden, then the Swedish Courts will have exclusive jurisdiction. Then the wife may well receive a less favourable financial settlement as Swedish Courts favour a financial clean break and therefore the wife may lose any rights to spousal maintenance.
"International divorce often involves jurisdictional issues that can be complicated and can demand contested hearings in their own right if parties are not in agreement. It is therefore essential that you get the right advice from the start, because you may find that it's too late if you issue proceedings in the wrong country."
About Russell Jones & Walker:
Russell Jones & Walker employs over 440 staff (over 229 lawyers) and is renowned as the leading national firm of solicitors in protecting the rights and providing legal services to individuals and those who represent them. RJW has a network of regional offices and includes those in the following centres: London, Birmingham, Bristol, Wakefield, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Sheffield, Cardiff and Edinburgh.
Russell Jones & Walker
50-52 Chancery Lane
020 7657 1688
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