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My ex lives in another country – can I still get divorced in England and Wales?

Certain criteria need to be met to divorce in England and Wales. These criteria are generally based on where each party lives or is domiciled and how long they have lived in England and Wales. If you ex lives abroad, the more common grounds used are:

  1. That you were both last “habitually resident” in England and Wales and one continues to reside here
  2. That you are “habitually resident” in England and Wales and have resided here for at least one year immediately before applying for a divorce
  3. That you are “domiciled” and “habitually resident” in England and Wales and have resided there for at least six months immediately before applying for a divorce
  4. That you are “domiciled” in England and Wales

The test for whether you are “habitually resident” or “domiciled” for the requisite period of time can be quite fact specific so it is always best to seek legal advice.

If you meet the eligibility and start proceedings here, your ex may start competing proceedings abroad. In those circumstances, the court will consider where is most “convenient” and if the courts where you ex lives are found to be more convenient, it will stop the proceedings here. Convenience is fact specific but by way of example, if all of your assets are located in the country your ex resides in, it may be more convenient to base the proceedings there for ease of enforcing financial orders.