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LawSpot

Family Law and Jurisdiction

Whatever the outcome of Brexit, what has been highlighted are the international legal issues affecting families who are spread across different countries, including the UK, EU and beyond. These are issues concerning ‘jurisdiction’ meaning; which courts have the legal right to decide a family law problem?

Top tips to bear in mind include:

• A court in more than one country can have ‘jurisdiction’, and if that is the case then very careful thought must be given to the further question of; which country’s court should take the lead to resolve the family law problem?

• Within the UK, there are 3 different legal jurisdictions which all have slightly different family laws and procedures:
1. England & Wales
2. Scotland
3. Northern Ireland (Brexit does not change this)

• Establishing ‘jurisdiction’ includes considering:
1. Habitual Residence – This is usually the country where a person lives or spends the majority of their time.
2. Domicile – Generally, this is the country which a person considers is their permanent home. (The place of ‘habitual residence’ and ‘domicile’ can be the same or different countries, and might also be different from that person’s nationality).

• If a married couple gets divorced in a foreign country, this does not automatically stop the Family Court in England & Wales from resolving financial issues related to their divorce.

• Parental consent (i.e. the agreement of those with ‘parental responsibility’) is required if a child is being taken to a different country, even if that means the child travelling to a different part of the UK but still remaining within the UK.

The Family Team at Harold G Walker has specialist knowledge of the family laws which apply in the legal jurisdiction of ‘England & Wales’. However, they are often asked to help people who have strong family connections with different countries around the world. These specialists are experienced in considering the tricky legal issue of ‘jurisdiction’ and can work with lawyers from other countries, to help you achieve the best legal outcome whether here or abroad.

Harold G Walker Solicitors offer a FREE 30-minutes consultation to review all family matters.

For further information please contact the Family Law Team or Contact Us

Colin Mitchell

Colin Mitchell

Family Solicitor and Collaborative Family Lawyer