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Rayden Solicitors, specialist international divorce solicitors for individuals living abroad and international divorces

We act for international and overseas-based clients in respect of family law issues where there are links to England and Wales. We also advise domestic clients with international links.

Your international divorce specialists

There are specific issues involved in helping a client living outside this country, or with links overseas. We are family law specialists and divorce solicitors and routinely work with clients in respect of divorces, financial disputes and issues involving children which cross international borders.

We have experts who can advise in relation to offshore assets including complex trusts and other financial structures, investments and foreign pensions.

We can also advise with respect to implementation and enforcement in England and Wales of financial and children orders made overseas.

Can I divorce in England and Wales if either my spouse or I live abroad?

Yes, you may be able to divorce in England and Wales if you or your ex-partner are living abroad. You will need to establish a sufficient link to England and Wales so as to establish “jurisdiction”.

This is most commonly done through living in England and Wales, but can be established through your other connections to England and Wales including any historical and family connections.

England and Wales is a separate legal entity from other parts of the UK, including Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands. If you have links to those areas and to England and Wales, we can also assist.

Can I divorce abroad if either my spouse or I live in the UK?

Yes, you may be able to divorce abroad even if you or your ex-partner are living in the UK.

We can assist in obtaining specialist advice in another country to ensure you are aware of your options.

Where should I divorce?

The country in which the divorce takes place is also invariably the country in which financial matters alongside the divorce are resolved.  Since financial outcomes on divorce vary greatly from country to country, it is often vital to obtain urgent advice before the divorce is issued to find out which country best suits your desired financial outcome.

Other factors play an important role, such as language, access and cost of legal advice and the enforceability of any final financial order.

We can provide urgent advice and liaise with lawyers in other countries to ensure you are able to assess your options and take the suitable tactical steps.

What happens if we cannot agree where the divorce should take place?

It is often important to take quick and decisive action to ensure that the divorce takes place in the country which is most beneficial to you. If you consider that you and your spouse will not agree on the location of the divorce, please contact one of our specialist advisors urgently.

In the event that you and your spouse cannot agree to the country for the divorce, there may need to be a preliminary dispute in this regard, often referred to as a forum dispute.

The Courts in England will consider which country is best placed to handle the divorce using the forum non-conveniens test, essentially deciding upon which court is best placed, for the divorce to take place. The links your family and their finances have to each country is often decisive.

Do I need to issue first?

For many years it was the case within the EU that the country in which divorce proceedings are issued first would be the country in which the divorce took place.  Following the UK’s exit from the EU, the “first to issue” test is no longer decisive.

However, it can often be tactically beneficial to be the first to issue and we recommend that you receive urgent guidance from one of our specialist advisors.

How long does it take to divorce as an expat?

If the English court has jurisdiction for the divorce, it usually takes between six and seven months to obtain a final order of divorce.

With the help of an international divorce lawyer the process should run smoothly and you will be supported and advised throughout the process.

International implementation and enforcement of orders

You may need to enforce in England a financial order made overseas. Or enforce an English order in another jurisdiction.

Please see our section on REMO child maintenance (Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders) for more guidance.

If you have obtained a pension-sharing order outside of England and Wales in relation to a domestic pension policy, we can assist with the process of implementing this order. 


Making arrangements for children poses unique issues for international families.  If there are any issues relating to international relocation, please see our section on child arrangements.

If you have been affected by parental child abduction, please refer to our specialist section on child abduction.

A family law firm that works for you

Rayden Solicitors understand that divorce proceedings are stressful enough without the added burden of being in a different country in a different time zone. We aim to make this difficult time as easy as possible for you.

We can communicate quickly and efficiently by email or telephone. We also use platforms including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype and Whatsapp with HD webcam to facilitate conference calling, so that there is no need to miss out on face-to-face meetings with your solicitor when you are abroad.

We have the ability to scan, send and receive high volumes of documents. Furthermore, we are not a 9am to 5pm high street firm and our team can make themselves available outside normal operating hours where time zones are a consideration.

Rayden Solicitors is committed to equality and diversity and in doing so supports and advises all members of our community.

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We are here to listen, wherever you are based

If you would like to arrange a first meeting or have any questions, please contact us or fill in the enquiry form below.

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