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Brexit: what does the UK's divorce from the EU mean for Family Law?

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Brexit: what does the UK’s divorce from the EU mean for Family Law?


Will Theresa May have to fight for her leadership?

Will the draft withdrawal agreement prevail?

Amidst all this uncertainty, we have addressed below areas of Family Law that will need to be reviewed when the UK eventually splits from the EU.



Brussels IIa is the EU regulation that governs Jurisdiction within divorce proceedings.  This EU regulation has allowed couples who are either domiciled or habitually resident in more than one EU member state to issue proceedings in the country that will achieve the most favourable outcome for their divorce.

Moreover, whoever is the first to issue divorce proceedings, the member state of their choosing will have Jurisdiction. Therefore it is often a race between spouses to issue in a European Country that they consider to be more favourable to their circumstance.

If we go by the current legislation utilised by non-EU countries, the Court will have to consider the location of the parties assets and how closely affiliated the family is with the UK before a decision can be made about where to issue the proceedings.



The UK is a member of the Hague Convention 2007 that deals with the recognition and enforcement of both child and spousal maintenance across EU member states.  It is not known whether the UK will enter into separate agreements with each member state or whether it will try and implement a similar unified arrangement with all the EU member states governing the enforcement and recognition of maintenance. Currently the UK is privy to the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders, which is an international agreement between the UK and non-EU countries regarding maintenance. It may be that this international agreement is extended to include all EU member states.

Right now, we can only make predictions about the changes that will be made to the current legislation.  Whether some of the EU legislation will form part of our domestic laws or whether they will be scrapped completely is still unknown. However, transitional provisions will need to implemented in order to accommodate and provide certainty for those that will be affected during the transitional period.

If you need advice in relation to any family law related matter, please call us and one of our team will be happy to assist you in any way possible.

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