Date updated:

You have the jurisdiction to issue proceedings in this country if:

  1. Both you and your husband/wife are habitually resident in England and Wales;
  2. Both you and your husband/wife were last habitually resident in England and Wales and one of you still resides there
  3. The Respondent (the person against whom you are issuing divorce proceedings) is habitually resident in England and Wales;
  4. You have resided in England and Wales for at least a year immediately before the proceedings are issued;
  5. You have resided here for at least 6 months immediately before the proceedings are issued and you are also domiciled in England and Wales. 

If none of these apply, but would apply to another Member State of the European Community (except Denmark), you would be unable to issue proceedings in England and Wales.  However, if they cannot be applied to any Member State (for example, if you have both been residing in the USA and have returned to England in the last couple of months), you would be able to issue proceedings under what is known as 'residual jurisdiction', provided that either you or your husband/wife are now domiciled here.

You or your spouse also may have the jurisdiction to issue proceedings, or be the subject of proceedings, in your country of origin, your country of birth, your country of choice, or the country in which you are habitually resident, although this will depend on the relevant laws in that particular country.

This can lead to a mass of confusion, and which jurisdiction your case takes place in can have a major impact on the outcome in terms of money and in terms of children and where they live.

It is therefore vital to consider jurisdiction issues and to prepare to ameliorate your position and where possible to reduce conflict and the need to react quickly.

We act for a large number of ex-domiciles on the African continent, the Asian continent, the American continent and in Europe.  Communication is so much easier now and we have good video conferencing facilities.

We also have tax advisors who specialise in IHT implications, Wills and Trusts, with whom we work hand in hand in the giving of advice.

The Family Team is about protecting family wealth and promoting co-parenting through and beyond separation, through innovative, constructive and imaginative thinking and advice.

We are always there to offer you a second opinion, or in order to establish with you what options and prospects there are within the English jurisdiction, or indeed what could happen if your partner chose the English Courts over other jurisdictions.

The question of divorce process, the question of enforceability of Orders abroad, and the question of in which jurisdiction a child might live are all matters very close to a family's wellbeing into and beyond separation.