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Why London Remains The Divorce Capital Of The World?
London Remains The Divorce Capital Of The World: London has long been known as the “divorce capital of the world,” thanks in large part to the city’s liberal maintenance agreements. However, this reputation has not been destroyed just yet, despite Brexit and a number of recent cases that have seen a hardening of maintenance awards.
Particularly for those with significant assets and a global presence, the location of the divorce is important. There is a “race” to file for divorce in the jurisdiction that will provide the most financially advantageous maintenance award, also known as “forum shopping,” because different countries have vastly different and generally less generous attitudes towards maintenance grants to the financially weaker party.
Historically, London has been quite generous to the less powerful party, usually the wife. Courts in other nations, on the other hand, have less flexibility and may only award maintenance settlements for brief periods of time, with the expectation that the parties will eventually become financially self-sufficient.
As a result, divorce settlements in London have become some of the biggest ever awarded by a court. As the world’s divorce capital, London continues to attract many people.
However, a shift has occurred in the direction of favorable court rulings. While maintenance awards are still considerable, judges are becoming more stringent in their expectations of the recipient, which suggests that once children leave the home, or even before, a wife may choose to pursue or return to previous employment.
It is not uncommon for the courts to rule that requiring a former spouse to make maintenance payments for the rest of their life, including retirement, is unfair.
When in London…
The city of London may not be accessible for everyone, and even if it were, it might not be the best place to file for divorce if another option existed.
Anyone hoping to divorce in London must be able to show some sort of relationship to the UK. That place could be the permanent home of one or both partners.
You may be able to choose London as the venue of your dispute, but it doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the best result by doing so. The ability to enforce a divorce settlement is something to think about if there are assets located in a foreign country.
A foreign court’s involvement in enforcing a divorce settlement reached in the United Kingdom can be time-consuming, expensive, and inconvenient, to say the least.
Issues Arising from Brexit
Since Brexit, things have gotten even more complicated. EU law, known as Brussels II, meant that filing for divorce in a particular EU country was crucial for an EU national who wanted and could grab that country’s jurisdiction.
Even if the divorce applicant tried to file in another EU state, jurisdiction would be established in the first state where it was filed. While the UK is no longer required to comply, the rest of the EU still must. Other countries also employ a similar ‘first in time’ policy.
In the event that jurisdiction can be proved and there are two competing jurisdictions, the English courts will no longer automatically give priority to whichever jurisdiction was taken first.
When applying the “center of interest” test, the court will look at additional variables. This includes questions like how much time and money each party spends in each jurisdiction, where assets are located, and so on.
This anomaly arises when two sets of proceedings, dealing with the same issues and potentially leading to two different outcomes, are simultaneously ongoing in two different jurisdictions, and the courts in those jurisdictions use different rules to determine which competing jurisdictions have precedence.
Because each jurisdiction will insist on its own outcome, it’s clear that there’s a problem determining which one to follow. For this reason, the English courts have the power to issue injunctions to put a stop to divorce proceedings taking place in a foreign country.
This will direct an individual, not a State, to cease the proceedings. Therefore, a State could elect to continue with the proceedings regardless, which would not escalate the problem.
The UK courts will nonetheless go to substantial lengths to avoid this clash, preferring to work together with other countries to achieve a resolution for both sides. Among countries with which England has cordial diplomatic relations, the likelihood of this phenomenon occurring is much lower.
Individuals with an international footprint wanting to separate from their partners are recommended to obtain legal guidance before initiating proceedings.
As the implications of not understanding the most advantageous jurisdiction for a given individual might be severe, it is crucial that this option be taken advantage of whenever possible.
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