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Family courts in England and Wales are increasingly dealing with international family law cases – much more so than even just a few years ago – indeed there is every likelihood that Brexit will increase the amount of litigation in England and Wales.
Resolution held a roundtable discussion to consider the possible implications for family law practitioners of the UK exiting from the EU without a deal.
UK law supports surrogacy if it fits a model deemed acceptable: purportedly altruistic, consenting and privately arranged. Surrogacy is therefore not illegal in the UK but it is restricted by legislation.
The issue discussed in this chapter arises when or after an international relationship breaks down and either of the parents wishes to relocate.
Always consider child abduction/retention in any case involving a child and a foreign element.
The fundamental rule in this jurisdiction is that the responsibility of a parent as regards the person and upbringing of a child is unaffected by domicile or nationality.
This chapter looks at how it is possible to transfer parental responsibility proceedings between member states, beyond the jurisdictional rules.
To the extent that there is a codified jurisdictional rule in England & Wales, it is found in Chapter II of the Family Law Act 1986 (FLA 1986). Never the easiest piece of legislative drafting, the Act has grown increasingly more cumbersome through successive amendments to take account of various international instruments concerned with jurisdiction.
This is a quick reference guide to assist in identifying the appropriate regulation, statute or convention, but in all cases it is necessary to review the specific instrument to ensure that it applies
The issues discussed in this section arise when the financial resources of a couple divorcing in England & Wales include an overseas pension or the family lawyer is contacted by an overseas lawyer to explain that the financial resources of a couple divorcing abroad include a pension from an English provider.
This section summarises various types of trusts and what steps the family solicitor should consider when faced with one. It is beyond the scope of this guide to provide more than a brief overview of this complex subject.
This chapter deals with whether it is possible to swear a document abroad to be used in English proceedings and who can swear a document abroad; the taking of evidence abroad; and evidence of foreign law.
This section covers freezing injunctions in international cases. Practitioners need to be very careful when seeking such injunctions as whilst relatively easy to come by, they may turn out to be a poisoned chalice.
This chapter is set out in sections dealing with the law and procedure for serving documents issued in the jurisdiction of England & Wales in the different categories of foreign jurisdictions (outgoing process).
Until future case law clarifies how former civil partners will be treated under the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 (MFPA), this section focuses on the law relating to formerly married couples as applied in England and Wales.
This section covers financial provision for children where there are international aspects (although it does not cover enforcement of child maintenance). Most likely, one or both of the parties are non-British nationals and/or reside in different countries. Or both parties might be British but reside abroad.
This section considers some issues which can arise when it is possible to raise divorce or civil partnership proceedings in more than one UK jurisdiction.
This chapter covers issues in jurisdiction on divorce, such as stays within the E.U., division of assets, spousal maintenance, child maintenance, stays outside the E.U. and same-sex couples.
Family law practitioners should also bear in mind key factors such as choice of court and law when advising on and drafting marital agreements for international parties.
A forced marriage is one which takes place without the full and free consent of both parties.
This chapter should be read in conjunction with chapter 3 on the recognition of foreign marriages. Under s.51 Family Law Act 1986, the recognition of a divorce may be refused if the validity of the marriage is in question.
This section outlines the law and the principle concepts surrounding recognition by the courts of England & Wales of foreign marriages.