International Family Law

Jurisdiction and Enforcement in Disputes
The number of international family legal disputes is on the increase.

As more people choose to live and work overseas, or form relationships with partners who are not UK nationals, so the number of ‘international families’ has risen.

As a consequence the number of cross-border disputes relating to divorce, relationship breakdown or arrangements for children has also increased.

Where such disputes arise, it is vital to seek early advice from legal experts who have particular knowledge of international family law.

At Mackrell.Solicitors, our Family Law Team has wide ranging experience of cross-border disputes.

As the founders of Mackrell International, one of the largest international organisations of independent law firms in the world, we are also uniquely placed to be able to partner with member firms to procure immediate international legal advice for our clients and access to international jurisdictions in every corner of the globe.

Choosing a jurisdiction

The decision regarding which country has jurisdiction over your matrimonial and family law proceedings can make a significant difference to the outcome.

In cases where each party has equal grounds to proceed in their ‘home country’ there can often be a race to issue proceedings in the country which is felt to offer a more favourable outcome – commonly known as ‘forum shopping’. This is particularly common in cross-border cases involving other European countries where the current legislation provides that whoever issues proceedings first secures jurisdiction.

Swift advice is critical. At Mackrell.Solicitors our specialist International Family Team can advise you on the best country for your case to be heard, both in terms of financial settlement and issues relating to arrangements for children.

Our International Family Law Team also has particular expertise in matters relating to:

  • Finances and asset protection – including freezing of overseas assets and enforcement in foreign jurisdictions
  • Parental responsibility disputes
  • Relocation of children – including where a parent wishes to relocate outside England to another jurisdiction
  • Child abduction – including action to prevent the unlawful removal of a child
  • Cross border divorces involving parties with international corporate or offshore assets
  • Pre-nups and post-nups – including advice on choosing a jurisdiction clause
  • Working with expatriates based overseas, especially in the United Arab Emirates
  • Validity of marriage issues

To find out how we can help you with issues relating to international family law, please contact us.

Recent cases and expertise

Alison Green is Head of the International Family Law Team at Mackrell.Solicitors An expert in family law in a wide range of international jurisdictions, Alison is particularly renowned for her expertise in family law issues relating to Middle Eastern countries.

Much of her case work in recent years has come from expatriates living and working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and in particular expatriate husbands or wives who live in Dubai.

Mrs A

The International Family Law Team at Mackrell.Solicitors, headed by Alison Green, have acted on behalf of Mrs A in relation to divorce, children and financial issues.  The parties had a short marriage; Mr & Mrs A had separated and Mrs A returned to her native New Zealand with her child in the belief that Mr A was in agreement with the relocation.

This issue triggered Hague Convention proceedings in New Zealand in which Mr A was successful in securing the return of the child to England as he argued he had not agreed with the move. With Mackrell’s help Mrs A issued an application for permission to relocation from England to New Zealand and, following a contested hearing, she has successfully relocated.

Mrs B

Alison Green, who heads Mackrell’s International Family Law Team has acted on behalf of Mrs B who is South African but is based in Dubai. Divorce proceedings against Mr B were issued, who is a British national but is also based in Dubai. Jurisdiction was obtained in England as a result of the husband’s domicile here and after a negotiated financial settlement proved impossible, English court proceedings were issued to deal with the financial issues between the parties.. Both parties have property in England, Scotland and Dubai.

These are just two examples of a myriad of situations which arise which the International Family Law Team can assist with.

To find out how we can help you with issues relating to international family law, please contact us.