International assets on divorce – what happens to overseas property?

International Assets on Divorce

International assets on divorce

Do you or your ex have assets or property based abroad? If so please make sure you consult an experienced international family lawyer.  You will need their help to decide in which country to apply for your divorce.

An important consideration for you will be where you want your matrimonial finances decided. Much will depend on where your and your ex’s assets are based, and your aspirations for a financial settlement.

You may chose England, particularly if you are the party in a weaker financial position. Alternatively, you may choose to proceed in England because it’s your home, a more reliable jurisdiction or your assets are here.

Disclosing international assets on divorce

The first step in any financial settlement is disclosure. In this way you will discover the extent of your ex’s assets. But you will of course also need to disclose your own.

However, disclosure of assets does not automatically mean they will form part of the settlement. This depends on whether they are matrimonial or non matrimonial assets. For example, an asset is likely to be non matrimonial if it’s:

  • based abroad and/or
  • acquired before marriage and
  • has never featured in the family finances

If your ex refuses to comply with disclosure orders, the Court may decide they have undisclosed resources. And as a result the Court may make orders in your favour in respect of those resources.

How does the English Court decide

The English Court has no hard and fast formula for deciding financial applications. Instead it is guided by decided cases and by rules laid down by Parliament. Two important cases, White v White and Charman v Charman changed how financial settlements are decided. Gone forever is the “bias in favour of the money-earner and against the home-maker and child-carer”. 

These cases established the starting point for division of matrimonial assets to be a fifty-fifty split. However, various considerations, as laid down by Parliament, frequently lead to unequal sharing. They include for example the welfare of any children, and your and your ex’s:

  • housing needs
  • income and earning capacity
  • financial needs and responsibilities
  • ages and any disabilities

and the length of your marriage.

Alternatives to Court

You may wish to consider alternative options such as collaborative family law, mediation or arbitration.

Enforcement abroad

You will need to consider how easy it will be to enforce a Court order abroad. Enforcement arrangements vary between countries. Consequently please make sure to consult an international family lawyer who has experience of enforcement abroad.

Obtaining legal advice also in the foreign country is recommended

International assets on divorce – what happens to overseas property?

Contact International Family Lawyer Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for an initial consultation on International assets on divorce – what happens to overseas property? In this 20 minute session she will review your situation and how you can achieve your objectives.

JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family lawyers. We offer Collaborative law solutions tailored to your family’s needs.

The topics covered in this blog post International assets on divorce – what happens to overseas property? are complex. They are provided for general guidance only. Therefore if any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog apply to you, seek expert legal advice. This is an evolving area of the law and is current at the date of publication. 

Image for International assets on divorce – what happens to overseas property? Serious Woman by Jiri Hodan on wikimedia.

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