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Can she file for divorce in the UK?

(17 Posts)
ishchel Mon 09-Sep-13 04:42:39

Thanks BB. Will PM you tonight as I have to get ready for work now. I agree with "you have to think of the costs in a commercial way as an investment for later returns ...."

babybarrister Sun 08-Sep-13 21:07:51

If you make a Part III application it would be just as expensive so I would go for it here- you have to think of the costs in a commercial way as an investment for later returns ....

Feel free to PM me

ishchel Sat 07-Sep-13 15:31:57

I have spoken to a family law solicitor in Newcastle and she indicated that my mum could file for divorce in the UK since her husband has chosen the UK as his domicile.

Her one concern on my and my mum's behalf is the possibly cost of the divorce. My mum has very little money and without my and my DB's help would struggle to pay for a divorce in Belize (which follows British Common Law but the statutes in award would not yet have 'caught up' with where UK family law is atm). She says that knowing the way he left the marriage she can see him dragging it out so that it becomes and expensive procedure for her to divorce him in the UK. She says by dragging it out it could cost between £4,K to £8K. That bit worries me of course cause as it is my dh and I have been like hamsters on a wheel keeping up with mortgage payments, child care et al.

Are you therefore saying babybarrister, that she could file for divorce in Belize, which would be cheaper and then file for ancillary relief in the UK courts? He has moved all their money out of Belize. The only thing he left in Belize was a house which is in both their names. He left some document to have the property signed over to my mother in full and which a solicitor says is invalid. There is therefore, nothing in Belize left as the property is not even worth much.

the other concern I have is that he will of course hide how much he has in the UK. I am concerned that it will be difficult for a Belizean solicitor to find out what his assets in the UK. I would think that since he has been squirreling money away in the UK for a long time, that he owns a property here and has other financial investments going. My mum is aware of 2 pensions and an inheritance but has no idea of how much money he has repatriated over the years and how he has stashed/reinvested it. How do we get to the bottom of that pile? Hire a solicitor here to dig but conduct the divorce in Belize? Since he won't give any money voluntarily how do we keep him from defying a Belizean court order in the UK?

I doubt he has money in Swiss accts etc as he isn't that well off, but what my mum is entitled to would help to make her more comfortable in her old age.

I found this this link which seems promising if she were to divorce in Belize which I found with the help of what you mentioned above, BB thanks for that.

This is giving me things to consider in a good way as I would like to keep the expense of the divorce down as you can imagine but I know that he won't let that happen easily. when he finds out I am the big push behind it, he'll be really pissed off and knowing he can make it expensive for me would give him some satisfaction.

babybarrister Thu 05-Sep-13 08:13:42

I doubt she can issue in England as test will be forum convenient ie most suitable forum - but it is possible ... If your DM is in weaker financial position as assets not in her name she will prob do better here ...
The other serious issues tho are freezing and then enforcing against assets overseas. I assume Swiss courts can make freezing orders and certainly English courts would carry out such an order by making their own order if necess. This would seem to be v urgent in her case now ...There are also issues of enforcement. Your DM will need to ID a good Swiss family lawyer - try International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers or Union Internationale des Avocats listings ....
Finally, if DM cannot issue here she might be able to bring claim under Part III Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984

fuckwittery Thu 05-Sep-13 00:25:28

Good news, yes do keep updated smile

ishchel Wed 04-Sep-13 18:36:20

I have contacted the two you recommended and Stowe has already asked preliminary questions to kick off. Will keep you updated if you like. :-).

fuckwittery Wed 04-Sep-13 14:54:24

There's currently no residence test for legal aid, the criteria is that the proceedings are im England. It may well be coming in soon though. Good luck.

ishchel Wed 04-Sep-13 14:50:10

Thank you again for your help with the search and the info. I think we'd fail to prove DV even though it was present. I am about to give her a ring to share info. :-)

ishchel Wed 04-Sep-13 14:48:46

I am willing to travel to Harrogate or London if necessary but will also check out the firm in Newcastle to see if they are of any help.

I don't think she will qualify for legal aid anyway because she is abroad and even if she came here temporarily as she has Right of Abode in the UK, she would not satisfy the residency requirements (domiciled for 2 or yrs IIRC) to qualify. I have DH's support anyway to help her fight this with her and at least one of my siblings will be helping us financially to do so.

fuckwittery Wed 04-Sep-13 06:56:06

Sorry, I meant to say I add i am v sorry to hear about your step fathers abuse. Regarding DV and legal aid for your mum, emotional abuse is domestic violence byt there needs to be some proof as set out here
www.justice.gov.uk/legal-aid-for-private-family-matters/legal-aid-divorcing-separating-abusive-partner

fuckwittery Wed 04-Sep-13 06:17:41

I did a search for family lawyers specialising in international issues within 50 miles of Durham on the Resolution website (association of family lawyers) and nothing came up! If Harrogate is not too far, Stowe Family Law deals with international issues and have an office in London. Had a quick look at the Legal 500 charts of Major family law in Newcastle are recommended for complex financial matters.

ishchel Tue 03-Sep-13 20:35:38

I am in County Durham with Sunderland, Durham and Newcastle close by.

the Domestic Violence to her I believe is confined to verbal and emotional abuse. There was physical abuse on us kids. I was the main focus of his aggression for a few years and made me consider suicide. But I do not know of any physical abuse to her.

I will definitely try to move fast. I don't mind posting here. I can ask for it to be deleted later I suppose.

fuckwittery Tue 03-Sep-13 18:52:11

Which area are you in? Feel free to PM
Your mum should definitely move quickly before he dissipates the assets further, the good news is that this is a sympathetic jurisdiction to such behaviour and if there can be an English divorce, she'll be able to get considerable assistance in recovering UK assets.... If she can pay for advice. There is no legal aid for this work unless there has been domestic violence.

ishchel Tue 03-Sep-13 14:44:30

And how do I go about finding a solicitor with this sort of experience in my area?

ishchel Tue 03-Sep-13 14:03:21

Thanks a lot for that FW. He is not normally resident here (he only left her permanently last month). but I am convinced that he has no intention of leaving the UK now due to the manner in which he left, his age and familial ties so he will be becoming a UK resident again. I am getting slowly more pissed at him on my mother's behalf because for nearly 30 yrs of marriage he has been repatriating their savings.

fuckwittery Tue 03-Sep-13 13:51:09

How long has the husband been in the UK? She'll need to locate him for service... Private investigators do no find no fee for about 100 -150 quid if needed.
If he is now habitually resident here, yes she can divorce him here, see the notes headed Part 3, Jurisdiction which are the court notes to completing a divorce form. If in any doubt I suggest she contacts a solicitor based here who has experience in jurisidiction disputes/ international issues, they can take her on as a client by email and phone, she doesnt need to fly here to instruct a solicitor.
hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/d008-notes-eng.pdf

ishchel Tue 03-Sep-13 10:19:47

Would my mum and her husband have to be residents of the UK for her to apply for a divorce in the UK?

My mum(non-British) and husband (British) have lived abroad (non-EU) most of their married lives (nearly 30 yrs). Their marriage was rocky through most of their time and now her husband has returned to the UK taking all the liquid assets they had together save about £20.

Throughout their married lives he would transfer savings back to the UK in addition to having a UK pension and inheritance money from his mother who passed away about 10 yrs ago.

He left when she was away from their home for a few days and did not leave any contact address or phone numbers here. I am sure however that he has returned to the UK with no intention of returning abroad. My mom is now 66 yrs old and never had a career of her own.

Thanks for reading and for any feedback you can give me.

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