The real impact of Brexit on divorce & family law is still largely unknown even after we officially left on January 31st, however, there are some assumptions we can make on the potential impact.
The freedom of movement in the EU means that around 3.8 million EU citizens live in the UK and around 1.3 million UK citizens live in the EU. Until now various European laws have applied when such couples get divorced, but there is now uncertainty for both family lawyers and their clients.
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Brexit will not have an impact on the way in which British courts handle how assets are divided and distributed during a divorce. Brexit will, however, cause jurisdictional issues in some matters. Previously, couples may have chosen to find a jurisdiction which would be more favourable in their circumstances, but this may no longer be applicable.
There are already issues with jurisdictional differences in the EU between same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Leaving the EU is going to worsen this issue, especially for same-sex couples who are looking to leave the EU as a result of Brexit.
EU regulation currently provides protection to victims of domestic abuse. This ensures that these individuals can have their protection orders both recognised and introduced across the EU. Brexit means that this approach across the EU will no longer be relevant and each country will have its own requirements and domestic violence laws.
Under EU regulation, all members of the EU are required to handle all child abduction cases within six weeks. As we will no longer be a part of his arrangement after Brexit, lawyers will have to use The Hague Convention, The Luxembourg Convention and the Family Law Act (1986) when dealing with these cases, providing more uncertainty for families.
The ending of EU treaties will directly impact on many families currently relying on EU legislation to enforce orders abroad, recognition of divorce proceedings which may either originate in the UK or another EU country or on the return of abducted children.
The UK does have the option of replicating the current EU regulations within British domestic law, which would minimise the changes to family law. The full extent of Brexit’s impact on family law is not yet known, however, in order to best protect families and children, the UK will need to adopt a clear, thoughtful approach.
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It is always advisable to contact an experienced family solicitor. That initial contact is a crucial step to ensure that you make an informed decision and know exactly what is involved with your case. You need to feel ready to take that next step and be sure not to make any hasty decisions.
Contact our Family Solicitors
The right solicitor changes everything. Anglo Law Solicitors provides expert legal advice on Family Law and Divorce proceedings.
We serve clients across the following areas
London areas - City of London, Aldgate, Tower Hamlets, Spitalfields, Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, Southwark, Bishopsgate, Canary Wharf, Islington & Highbury, Angel, Belsize Park, Hampstead, Swiss Cottage, Finchley.
Essex - Chigwell, Hainult, Woodford, Epping, Chafford Hundred, Chelmsford, Brentwood, Upminster, Grays.
Kent - Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, West Malling, Maidstone, Sevenoaks.
* Correct as at 20th February 2020, but the status of the Brexit negotiations are ever-changing so please contact us for more up to date information.
** “The court have a wide discretion when deciding what orders to make in relation to financial proceedings. In exercising their discretion, the court will take into full account the specific facts of the particular case in question. The court are guided by Section 25 criteria laid down by the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. In deciding how the family assets are redistributed between divorcing couples or determining what happens to income generating assets, the court will always make reference to the guidelines of Section 25. Each case presented to the court is ultimately adjudicated on its own merits and the needs of any dependant children will always be the court’s main priority”.