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The Importance of Taking Legal Advice Before Moving to Another Country

Philip Rutter's picture

People moving to another country should always take advice on the effect residing in another jurisdiction will have on their legal position. 

Whatever happens in relation to Brexit, London will remain a major financial hub and be an attractive place to live for many non-UK nationals.

London has been called "the divorce capital of the world" because of some of the very large awards handed down by judges in "big money" cases where the English courts have an extremely wide discretion.

For married people relocating to London, especially those moving with their families, there are things that should be thought about before a move:

  • If you contracted in or out of a marital property regime when you married, it may not be recognised by an English court. Have your position reviewed by an English Family lawyer and if necessary consider a post-nuptial agreement.
  • If you married with a prenuptial agreement, have it reviewed by an English Family lawyer to see if it would be upheld by an English court in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements will be upheld by English courts so long as certain criteria are met, so it is sensible to make sure that your agreement meets the criteria.
  • Alternatively, if you have a prenuptial agreement, does it confer exclusive jurisdiction on the country where you currently live? If it doesn't, consider a post-nuptial agreement to confer exclusive jurisdiction on that country in the event of a divorce.
  • If you don't have a prenuptial agreement, consider having a post-nuptial agreement before you move.

Do not think that just because your family is staying behind in your homeland that the English court does not have jurisdiction, because you may become habitually resident in England which could confer jurisdiction. Also, just because you may be keeping most of your assets in your homeland, it does not mean that the English court cannot make orders in respect of them, English judges have the power to make orders in respect of assets wherever they are located in the world and there are reciprocal enforcement arrangements with many countries.

For further information and advice, on matters relating to Family Law, please contact Philip Rutter, in relation to other areas of the Law, please contact Stephanie Thomas.

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Philip Rutter's picture

Philip is a specialist family lawyer. He has significant experience in claims for financial provision on divorce, pre and post-nuptial agreements, civil partnership dissolution, and cohabitation agreements and disputes. He has expertise in dealing with children cases, including residence and contact disputes.

Many of his cases have an international dimension and he is a member of the International Academy of Family Lawyers.

Philip has been involved in a number of leading family law cases during his career and has been recognised in legal directories including Chambers and Legal 500 where he has been described as “a great pragmatist” and “sagacious”. He is named as a prominent figure for family and matrimonial work in the Citywealth Leaders List.

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