When you apply for a divorce in a country other than where you are living, or where your permanent home is, this is known as an international divorce. This might happen because you live abroad for work, or because you and your ex end up living in different countries or because you have different nationalities.
If your situation involves two or more countries you need to consider or get advice on the following:
- Which countries you can get a divorce in, and
- If you have a choice of more than one country, which one is likely to give you the best outcome.
The law around divorce varies a lot from country to country. So, if you are thinking about getting divorced abroad it is really important you get legal advice from a lawyer who is an expert in divorce law in that country. This will mean you are well informed from the start about what it involves. In some countries for example you can’t apply for a divorce yourself – a lawyer has to do it. In other countries you may well find that if you want to end a civil partnership entered into in England for example, you can’t because it is not recognised.
You don’t have to get divorced in the country that you were married in, or where you were living when you or your ex decided to end your marriage or civil partnership. In many countries, but not all, you can get divorced in the country in which either of you are settled now, as long as it recognises that you were married in the first place. So, many couples will find that they can get divorced in more than one country.
Where you can divorce will depend on whether the court in the country you want to divorce in has the right and power to deal with your case. At the moment, different rules about ‘jurisdiction’ apply depending on whether you are applying for a divorce inside or outside the European Union.