As global mobility increases, so do the challenges of international family law.

As worldwide travel and technology continue to bridge distances, it is becoming increasingly common for families to have an international dimension. This introduces added intricacies to matters of family law, particularly in cases of divorce and where children are involved.

International family law encompasses the legal considerations arising from international family relationships, including divorce, child arrangements and financial matters. Additionally, considerations of international relocation may arise if separated or divorced parents wish to reside in different countries. It necessitates a nuanced understanding of how the legal systems of different countries may intersect in cross-border cases.

Regardless of nationality or country of residence, it is crucial to discern which laws are applicable in an international family law case and which country would be most advantageous based on individual circumstances. Disputes can emerge over where the divorce proceedings should take place, where children will live or visit, and how financial settlements following a divorce can be enforced.

The field of international family law has evolved in response to families from diverse backgrounds settling in both the UK and abroad, where disputes over the choice of jurisdiction for divorce proceedings are becoming increasingly prevalent. The complexity of these disputes has further intensified following Brexit and the UK’s separation from the EU, especially concerning the determination of financial settlements, particularly maintenance awards.

In cases where a relationship breaks down outside of the UK, a central issue is determining the country in which the divorce or other family matters will be settled. This decision may be timesensitive, as the timing of the proceedings can influence their location. This has an added impact if children are involved and are currently residing in another country as visiting arrangements can become even more emotionally charged.

Conflicts can also arise regarding the relocation of children when a custodial parent intends to move to another country against the wishes of the other parent; child custody arrangements must also consider holidays abroad, extended periods spent overseas, and potential relocations and it is advisable to seek legal advice around these arrangements before children are taken abroad as, in some cases, this can lead to child abduction.

Other aspects that may become more complex when different countries are involved include protecting wealth and dividing financial assets in the event of a divorce. Pre- and post-nuptial agreements can be particularly valuable in mitigating some of these challenges, provided they are written to align with the legal frameworks of the countries involved, but often in cases these have not been drawn up, and family law expertise is required. 

Always seek professional advice:

Here at Arlingsworth Solicitors, we understand the complexities and legal requirements around international family law, especially where divorce, child arrangements and financial matters are concerned. We are here to offer professional support 24/7 and provide you with the very best legal advice to protect you and your family.

If you, or someone you know, needs assistance, please contact our Brighton office on +44 (0) 1273 696962 or our London office on +44 (0) 203 358 0058. Alternatively, request a callback, or email You can also follow us on social media for any other important news and updates.

The information in this blog is intended for general information only. It is up-to-date at the time of writing. However, it does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated or relied upon as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.