The Brexit transition period ends on 31st December 2020. Where divorce proceedings are underway, proceedings will continue under the current European Union regulations. At present, which court will deal with a divorce depends on habitual residence of the parties. This has been consistent across EU countries since 2001.
The regulation known as Brussels II relates to divorce and children arrangements and provides that any EU country must recognise judgements given in other EU countries. Each EU country has a central authority set up to assist with cross border disputes. The correct jurisdiction for children matters will generally be where the child lives. In relation to divorce proceedings, where they could take place in multiple EU countries, wherever the proceedings are lodged first, will have priority
There is concern that a no deal Brexit could change this and that there may be more of a choice with regard to which Country the proceedings are issued in, where parties have links with more than one Country. This could be beneficial to the wealthier spouse who may consider that a court in another Country may be more generous than an English Family court.
This could lead to disputes with regard to jurisdiction which could be costly and lead to significant delays. There is also a concern that EU countries may no longer recognise orders made in the UK.
Taylor Bracewell will update the information when it becomes clear what the position will be in the new year. In the meantime, if you would like to enquire about divorce or separation, or any family matters, please do not hesitate to contact Taylor Bracewell’s family team: Sharon McKie, head of family law: 01302 965814, or you can email Sharon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Doncaster office: 01302 341414.