International Divorce Lawyer London

When it comes to international divorce cases, the law can become extremely complicated, especially if there are two or more countries involved with their own sets of laws. Going through an international divorce can be a lengthy and expensive process, so it is important to engage the right legal experts to advise you on your particular case and represent your interests in Court.

Many people assume that to get an international marriage dissolved, they must get a divorce in the country in which they currently live. This is not always the case.

People with dual nationality can also face additional complexities and making the wrong decision about where and how to get divorced could lead to even longer and more complicated legal red tape to sort things out satisfactorily. In some cases, the process can take years, leaving you to face a stream of legal bills.

International divorce specialists

In order to get things right the first time when it comes to international divorce law, it is highly recommended to hire an international divorce lawyer in London or elsewhere with particular expertise in the country in which you got married and/or are currently living.

Different countries have very different expectations, obligations and outcomes when it comes to divorce and your legal advisor must be aware of all the implications before acting on your behalf.

For example, the laws around caring for children, division of property or real estate and spousal maintenance arrangements vary wildly from country to country. Some places opt for fixed rules around the main earner’s income,

for example, while others take a more flexible approach to consider each case individually. Another factor is how long the couple must have been married before they can file for divorce., Again, this varies from place to place.

Getting the jurisdiction right from the start is crucial. This means deciding where to get divorced and, consequently, which country’s laws will apply.

Why choose Shortlands Family Law Firm?

Shortlands Family Law Firm has built up many years’ 

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experience as family law solicitors handling international divorce cases. The expert team of divorce solicitors offers a complete service for cases where the Courts of England and Wales have jurisdiction, as well as assisting lawyers with divorce and related family matters in other countries and areas, including Europe, India, Pakistan, Africa, the Middle East, Persian Gulf, Canada, USA, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Central and South America.

You will be assigned a knowledgeable international divorce attorney who will take a full history of your case before advising you on the best way forward. At Shortlands, the emphasis is placed initially on conflict resolution through mediation or collaboration. If this is not possible or advisable, they will work with you to navigate the international and domestic laws relevant to your case in order to finalise your international divorce as quickly and efficiently as possible. Your solicitor will help you understand your rights and responsibilities, along with working with you to ensure your children’s safety and welfare and plan your financial future.

What happens to children in an international divorce?

It should be the top priority of everyone involved in an international divorce to ensure that any children involved are catered for properly with regard to where they live, how they are funded out of the divorcing couple’s amassed wealth and how they can be cared for, educated and supported into adulthood. This is true whether the children have been born to the couple, or have joined the family through adoption

Each international divorce case with children involved ins assessed on an individual basis. It is generally acknowledged that the courts in the child’s habitual place of residence are best placed to make then final decisions about their future living arrangements.

Complications can arise when one person from the divorcing couple wants to take the child or children from the marriage to another country to live. This must then be handled very carefully to enable the right decision to be made for the child’s best interests.

Child abduction, or removing the child to another country before any decisions or permissions have been finalised, is never the right thing to do as it will seriously harm your defence. Your international divorce law specialists or solicitors for marriage will be able to advise you on the best route to take.


Frequently Asked Questions

If you and your spouse are currently living in the UK, you can start divorce proceedings in the Courts of England and Wales, provided that you have a valid marriage certificate or contract from the country where you got married. You will also need a certified translation if the certificate is not written in English.

The main issue that a UK divorce solicitor will need to ascertain is whether the wedding ceremony was lawful in the country where it took place, or in other words, whether the couple in question are actually legally married. A wedding carried out under local customs is usually lawful, but this needs careful checking before starting divorce proceedings.

A good initial step to take is to arrange an initial consultation with an international divorce law specialist to see where you stand and what might be involved in filing for divorce in your particular circumstances.

As with any form of divorce or dispute involving specialist solicitors and legal representatives, the cost of an international divorce will depend entirely on the individual circumstances.

Some cases will be far more straightforward than others, with potential complexities for the client to navigate including legalities around the wedding ceremony, division of property, financial settlements and allocation of other assets, arrangements around children and where they will live and ongoing spousal maintenance and obligations around immigration and tax.

If you are concerned about how high your international divorce fees might be, or your ability to meet the costs, speak to your divorce lawyer early on to see if there are any financing options available.


Marriages that are conducted abroad are normally recognised in the country in which they have taken place if they are carried out in accordance with local law. Recognition in the UK and other countries will depend entirely on the individual circumstances and the laws of the relevant jurisdictions.

It could be that a purely religious ceremony conducted without adherence to local law may not be considered a valid marriage, requiring the couple to undertake a legally binding ceremony as well. In order to have a foreign marriage recognised in the UK, it must also be a union that would be allowed under UK law, for example, one that is monogamous, between consenting adults and not contravening the laws of bigamy.

We are based in Hammersmith, London, with our Head Office located at 4 Cambridge Court, 210 Shepherds Bush Road, Hammersmith, London, W6 7NJ. We also have branches in Birmingham and Manchester

Contact us

If you have any further questions or would like to discuss any issues around international divorce and the relevant legal services available, please contact Shortlands Family Law Firm today to speak to an expert and arrange an initial, no-obligation consultation.

Getting in touch

For more information, please get in touch with us by using or call us 02076299905 or book an initial online consultation.

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