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International Family Law

The world is a more connected place than ever and this has resulted in more international families. If your case involves an international element Blacks Solicitors’ Family Law team can help.

Cross-Border Enforcement

England has a number of arrangements with other countries for the reciprocal enforcement of Orders. However, whether an Order made here can be enforced in a foreign country depends on the law in that country.

The law also depends on whether the Order is new or existing, provisional, or final and what type of Order has been made.

If your ex-partner is not complying with an Order, then we can advise you.

Divorce and Jurisdiction

If you got married abroad and the marriage complied with the legal formalities in that country, the marriage will be legally recognised here.

You will also be able to issue divorce proceedings here if you have sufficient connections with England and Wales. For example, if both or one of you are habitually resident here or the person who is beginning proceedings has been living here for six months immediately before they file their divorce petition.

If you or your spouse has connections abroad you may be able to issue divorce proceedings here or in the country where you have connections. This situation may give rise to a “race” between you both to issue proceedings in two different countries.

Divorce law can vary from country to country and it is important that you know the implications of issuing proceedings abroad (known as “forum shopping”), and our Family Law team can help you to reach the best decision for you.

Financial Relief After Overseas Divorce

It is possible to apply for Financial Relief in this country even if you have obtained your divorce overseas. “Overseas” means anywhere except the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. To enable you to apply, the divorce/annulment or legal separation must be recognised here as being valid and either of you must:

  • Treat/or have treated England or Wales as a permanent home either now or at the time of divorce
  • Have lived in England or Wales for a year ending with the date of your application or lived in England or Wales for a year ending with the date the divorce/annulment or legal separation took effect
  • At the date of application had a beneficial interest in a house situated in England or Wales and at some point it was the former matrimonial home

If you have subsequently remarried or formed a civil partnership you can’t make a Financial Relief Application after an overseas divorce.

As long as the marriage was recognised here and you have sufficient connections with England or Wales you can ask the Courts here to consider your Application for Financial Relief. The Court must first decide whether to allow an Application by assessing whether it has merit.

If you have divorced elsewhere and wish to discuss your options in relation to finances, we can help.

Finances and Overseas Assets

Blacks’ Family Law team are recognised in The Legal 500 as being experienced in dealing with overseas assets within financial disputes and can assist with cases involving hidden or undisclosed assets.

If you believe that your spouse may be hiding assets from you in an attempt to present their income or general wealth as lower than it is in reality, we can help.


We are also recognised in The Legal 500 as having an extensive track record in Private Children Applications including those involving cross-border residence and contact issues.

It is important that you act quickly and seek to discuss your situation with a solicitor if you are worried your child may be permanently taken abroad. Please see our section on disputes concerning children for more information.


If you would like more information about Blacks’ services, please email or call our Family Law team today on 0113 227 9285.

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What our clients say

  • I was recommended by my son Paul Lancaster was very helpful giving me good advice always replied to my questions promptly and giving me good advice.

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  • I dealt with Paul Lancaster for my whole case he was excellent, very supportive clear around the law. And explained fully everything. He discussed strategy and costs with me. He gave clear advice and provided excellent barristers.

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  • Annie Beaumont is just the sort of solicitor you would want to have taking care of your affairs. The initial consultation was wide-ranging and informative and it was clear that our wants and needs were top priority.

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  • I really can’t speak highly enough of Ann Robinson and her secretary at Blacks from the first initial call right through my lengthy divorce process. Ann has always made me feel very much at ease in what was a very anxious and stressful 12 months or so for me as an individual and as a father. Ann is very level headed even when things were extremely tough for me she was so calm in her approach and explained everything so precisely. Again as an individual Ann’s knowledge of family law and client relations is second to none. Ann’s ability to listen and advise is of the highest standard.

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  • The partner in charge of the department, Paul Lancaster, was responsible for advising me on my divorce settlement following separation from my wife. I will not have been the highest net worth individual he has dealt with but he gave me his full personal attention at all times. He took a commercial approach throughout the process and made firm recommendations.

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  • The solicitor Paul Lancaster was extremely supportive.
    He answered my call out of office hours and was readily willing to support my anxiety through my divorce, I am very grateful.

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  • First class service from start to finish. Paul and the family law team have provided excellent expertise and professionalism throughout the process.


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  • Found my solicitor Paul Lancaster very easy to talk to he was very up front and honest with me regarding my divorce.
    Was a little nervous at first but Paul soon put my mind at ease.
    Was kept informed of the progress of my divorce.
    Staff were all very professional and made you feel welcome.
    Many Thanks Blacks solicitors and a big thankyou to Paul Lancaster.

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  • Paul Lancaster was very confident, he put us at ease and reassured us of our situation. I have to praise Paul for his patience and understanding given my health and situation. Paul filled us with every confidence that everything was under control, which it was thanks to his guidance.

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  • Ann Robinson provides a brilliant service and handles unexpected situations effectively, quickly and with kindness and calmness. She gets the job in hand done without causing unnecessary costs.

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  • Blacks is empathetic, honest and truly professional with the client at the forefront of all considerations. The group is efficient, helpful and responsive – clients couldn’t ask for a better, faster or more effective service

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  • The straightforward team at Blacks is clear and explanatory with its advice with no legal mumbo-jumbo. It handles high-end work in a very pragmatic way, which is always focused on the client, without cutting corners’.

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  • Paul Lancaster provided an invaluable balance and perspective when emotions around my divorce ran high, and there was a need for perspective and common sense. Paul is a member of Resolution, which was also important to me. All of his communications to the other party were conducted in a conciliatory, respectful and professional manner. 
Throughout what turned out to be fully contested proceedings, Paul provided expert guidance and support to me and to my extended family during exceptionally difficult times. For this we will always be grateful.

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  • I would like to thank you for your totally professional assistance in concluding this saga which has been going on for the last 3 years. I believe the outcome is the best we could have hoped for and you have been excellent throughout the last 12 months. We could not have done this without your support/help and clarity of advice. I know sometimes I may have been a bit demanding and possibly did not understand the intricacies of Family Law but you have really been supportive in all the direction you have given/offered us.

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  • I would like to say a massive thank you to Paul Lancaster of Blacks Solicitors who went more than an extra mile supporting me and defending me in my recent divorce proceedings. The level of service was outstanding. Paul is a gentleman of the highest quality, supported by his colleagues who are equally impressive in supporting their clients and obtaining the best results they can, every single time. If you want the best help and support then look no further than Blacks.

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  • I’m impressed with the level of service I received from Paul Lancaster. What fantastic people they are at Blacks! Not only solicitors but caring and comforting people. The service I received was exceptional and went above the norm by a long way. I lived in Leeds for many years and have used many of the legal firms in the city at some point. Blacks is the best of all legal firms I have encountered in my life. Deepest thanks. Fantastic company.

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  • Paul Lancaster goes beyond professionalism. His gentle and understanding approach offers ease and reassurance. He approaches all matters with sensitivity and great diligence. All matters are dealt with in a swift manner and there is minimal delay in replying to messages. 
I have already recommended this firm to some friends because of my belief that matters will be dealt with efficiently and with a positive outcome. 
Thank you to Paul for a stress free and professional experience.

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  • Extremely happy with the service I received from Anna. From the first meeting to the conclusion, everything she did was prompt and professional. If I ever need a solicitor again I will definitely use Blacks. Highly recommended.

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  • Paul handled my case with speed, sensitivity and tact, often anticipating my needs, yet working collaboratively to achieve a fair resolution. I was never patronised, and felt that no query was too small or insignificant to raise, despite Mr Lancaster’s seniority; this approach nurtured trust and put me at ease – a highly prized feeling when faced with emotionally-charged legal negotiations.

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  • Excellent firm to deal with, very helpful and service second to none… I have dealt with Paul Lancaster and he has gone above and beyond in helping me with my long term issue and successfully resolving the matter without the need of entering into courts. They take everything into consideration as certain matters are very sensitive but Paul did excellent job in advising where I stand and supporting where I required the need of a solicitor.

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  • I was advised to use Blacks as my father used them for years and told me they were very good. I can honestly say that this is an understatement. During my unfortunate and very messy divorce, Paul Lancaster not only managed to win every court battle I had against one of Leeds’ best Barristers, but also handled my costs to such an extent that my ex-wife’s fees were double my own. Literally. 
Blacks took the time and effort to care for me and my poor financial position and we still came out on top. I am indebted to this law firm.

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  • I had spoken to a number of family lawyers before choosing Paul Lancaster. He was the only one who understood what I hoped to achieve for my children, and he is a qualified Collaborative Lawyer, which I specifically sought, to help negotiate arrangements around childcare and finances. He is an exceptional advocate, and a very skillful negotiator, who I would happily recommend to anyone seeking a fair outcome for their family.


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  • Ann, I cannot thank you and your team enough, for all the help and the feeling of security you have given me over the past 11 years – knowing that my “fight” was in safe hands was a real weight off my shoulders, the worry never went away but I knew and trusted you would have an answer to anything that came up.

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