Where can I divorce?
Brexit – where can I divorce?
November 25th, 2020

As many will be aware, at 11pm on 31 December 2020, we will lose membership of the EU and with that, the rules that govern which jurisdiction will decide the issues when parties are divorcing. Put simply, the current rule provides that where there are competing petitions for divorce in two member states and, assuming jurisdiction requirements are met, the first filed at court will be heard and the other will be either dismissed or put on hold.

For a long time, London has been seen as ‘the divorce capital of the world’ and many see it as the place where they will get a fairer outcome than other countries. So, securing jurisdiction here, or even excluding it, can make a very significant difference to the outcome of any marital dispute. Using this rule does have its potential disadvantages, but it also brings with it some certainty and clarity.

Once we lose this piece of EU law, we will fall back on an approach that gives careful consideration to the facts of the case to determine which is the most appropriate forum. Whilst it might produce a fairer result, it also has the potential for more discussions and consideration and, in turn, much higher costs.

If England is going to be a potential venue in the jurisdictional field, then it is important to file any application before the end of this year to achieve certainty.

It should also be noted that other EU legislation, which concerns the recognition and enforcement of divorces between two member states, will also be lost so this adds emphasis to filing any proceedings before the end of this year.

The courts in England and Wales are already braced for a spike in divorces before the end of the transition period as couples try to avoid the protracted and costly international legal battles.

If this is something that causes you concern, then it might be prudent to make contact sooner rather than later to discuss your options and consider making any urgent applications.

For further information on this topic or any other matter, please contact Tariq M Ahmad FCILEx by telephone (+44 279 758080) or email (

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