Even though a divorce and the financial claims associated with it may have already taken place and been concluded in another jurisdiction, you may be able to apply to the English courts for further financial assistance. It’s only possible in certain limited cases, however, and there are many hurdles to overcome before an order will be made.
First, before it even entertains a claim, the court must be satisfied that there is a substantial ground for making the application. Whether you are entitled to ask the court for help in this way depends on your domicile, your habitual residence or the presence of a former matrimonial home within England and Wales.
Before making an order for financial provision after an overseas divorce, the court must consider whether it’s appropriate. In doing this, it will consider a number of factors, such as the connection each of you have with this country, the time that has elapsed since the divorce, the assets available in this country and the provision which has already been made abroad, among other things. If the court does decide that an order is appropriate, it then has to look at the same principles governing the division of finances upon divorce in this country, to decide the precise terms, nature and extent of the order.
The court is keen to keep a proper balance between not allowing someone to have ‘two bites of the cherry’ if they’re not satisfied with the outcome of a foreign court, while also ensuring that injustices are not done to someone with strong connections to England and Wales during the marriage.
The same legislation can be used if you want to obtain an order in this country by consent, following an overseas divorce. Some assets may be ignored or excluded by a foreign court, so those assets will need to be dealt with here. For example, if you want to obtain pension sharing orders of a UK pension following your divorce overseas.
Partner & Head of Family Law
Family Law Partner