It is not unusual for couples to seek a divorce in the UK when they are married overseas. You can file for a divorce in England or Wales if both you and your partner are habitually resident or domiciled in the UK, which means if you live and work here and your main home is in England or Wales.
If you or your partner have split up and one of you has moved outside of the UK, then the other must be able to call England or Wales their main home to divorce here.
The only time that getting a divorce in the UK becomes complicated is when both of you have moved overseas, and either one of you cannot return home to the UK.
Take legal advice
If you suspect that your divorce case may be complicated, you should take some legal advice to make sure that you can get a divorce in England or Wales.
For example, booking a consultation with a family lawyer, will help clarify your options. Family lawyers specialise in UK and international divorce. They can help you navigate the process of having a fair divorce, considering the differences in marriage laws in other countries.
If you were married abroad and are divorcing after many years of marriage and have children and overseas property or financial investments to consider, getting expert advice will help you make the right decisions.
You can get help from a professional family solicitor no matter whether you are based in England and Wales or are a British citizen that lives and works overseas.
Is my overseas marriage recognised?
The UK Court will recognise your marriage if you followed a legal marriage process in the country where you were married. As long as your wedding is official and legal, then it will be recognised in the English Courts.
You will need to include an original copy of your marriage certificate when applying for a divorce in England or Wales.
Handling international property and financial disputes
In many cases where couples that marry overseas get divorced, you may jointly own property in the UK, such as a family home and overseas property, such as a holiday home.
If you live and work overseas or divide your time between the UK and your overseas home, you may also have financial investments, bank accounts etc., in both countries. All of these properties and financial holdings will need to be considered in the event of a divorce.
Going through a divorce is a painful process, and having property and investments in different countries can be challenging to manage when emotions are running high. It can help to have a level head with plenty of knowledge of international property law on your side when sorting out issues over jointly owned overseas property or investments.
A family lawyer will help, support and guide you through the whole divorce process, and make sure that both parties come out the other side with a fair outcome.
Can I get a divorce if my ex-partner is out of the country?
As long as you are habitually resident or domiciled in the UK, you can file for a divorce in England or Wales, even if your ex-partner lives outside of the UK.
Depending on your circumstances, you may need to get the consent of your ex-partner before you can get a divorce. If you both want an amicable split, then your former partner will need to supply their overseas contact details so they can be served with your official divorce papers.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to getting divorced in England or Wales if your ex-partner lives abroad. Everyone’s circumstances are different, and this is why you should seek out specialist advice from a family lawyer on how to proceed with your divorce.