Looking out of the window on a Tuesday morning and what do I see but grey England. How often have we dreamt of moving to a climate where the sun shines more than it rains? If that is your dream and you make it a reality what happens if your world is turned upside down and your marriage or relationship fails?
A broken relationship in your country of birth is difficult but if you are abroad with no family support and few friends what do you do? Is it the country that you live in or your country of birth which determines what happens and what about the language issues?
Most people do not consider such issues while all is well. The answer may be a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement. This may seem unromantic but it could provide some certainty and save a lot of heartache for the future. Provided it is entered into properly it is likely to be upheld or at least taken into account. The law varies depending on which country you are in but the agreement could provide for the country that you wish to deal with your case. In making such a decision you may want to look at which countries are more generous and the location of any assets may also be important.
It is essential to take specialist legal advice because the court where you first issue will be the court that will deal with the proceedings. This means that you may end up dealing in a jurisdiction that you are not comfortable with.
Such an agreement can determine how the parties financial affairs can be dealt with on break-up. This would save costs and animosity and give certainty to the parties when emotions are running high. It could also provide for arrangements for the children. It would be natural for a party to wish to return to their country of birth and perhaps remove the children. This could lead to emergency court proceedings for return of the children and tension which would not be in the best interests of the children. If parties are able to sit down and discuss where children would live, how they could see the parent they do not live with, or in fact would there be shared parenting, this could save significant pain for the whole family.
International break-ups are far from straightforward. It may not be comfortable to talk about ‘what if?’ but really it is just looking at all the eventualities and hopefully it will never happen! Consider a health check at Stephensons before you go… speak to our specialist family law department.
By family law solicitor and mediator, Gillian Davies