English Courts Permit Claim Because of Residence

Posted: 7th April 2011

POst BoxesThe English courts are well-known worldwide as being amongst the most ‘generous’ to divorcing spouses in terms of financial settlements: they start from the premise that assets built up during the marriage should be split equally unless there is a good reason to do otherwise.

The English courts are therefore a popular jurisdiction to choose when deciding in what country a divorce will be dealt with.
In a recent case, a Russian divorcee whose marriage had lasted a mere 18 months was awarded £2.8 million by the High Court. The ruling was immediately appealed to the Court of Appeal, which has now upheld it. The ex-wife brought the case in the English court on the basis that she and her ex-husband had lived in the UK for some years and her ex-husband’s mother maintained a flat in London.
The decision regarding the settlement came after an unsavoury ‘divorce race’, in which the husband pipped his wife to the post by securing a divorce in the Russian courts. She was successful in having the divorce set aside by the High Court in 2010, but the Court of Appeal overturned that decision and ruled that the Russian divorce was valid. However, the Court ruled that the links with the UK were sufficient to allow the woman to make a claim on her ex-husband’s assets.
Divorce can present significant complexities when one or more of the divorcing couple is foreign, resides abroad or the marriage was contracted aboard.
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