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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 of 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.

Children

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

  • 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 and Anna Rhodes 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 and Anna Rhodes. What fantastic people they are! 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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  • Anna Rhodes and Paul Lancaster go beyond professionalism. Their gentle and understanding approach offers ease and reassurance. They approach 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 Anna and 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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  • I would like to thank Anna Rhodes for the high quality of her civil injunction advice and warning letter writing skills, in connection with a sensitive family matter. Anna was easy to communicate with and prompt to act whenever the situation demanded it. Anna made a home visit at very short notice, to fast track some legal paperwork that would enable us to achieve a better result for my vulnerable relatives. As a family, we were delighted with the reasonable charges we had incurred for all the face to face meetings and lengthy correspondence involved.

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  • I dealt with Anna Rhodes who was fantastic from start to finish. She was extremely helpful and cooperative and always went that extra mile with no extra charge for the additional work requested of her.
 The customer service and professionalism of this firm is second to none. I must add there were several occasions where members of the firm worked late in order to complete work for me and ensure I was able to collect necessary documents required. 
Very pleased with the service.

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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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