New EU Divorce Procedure

Couples relocating abroad are usual, then babies arrive and sometimes marriage ends: new EU Divorce Procedure sets how to deal with it.
Article Published: 31 Oct, 2020, Updated: 23 Apr, 2023 under Divorce

Due to the trend of globalisation, many people move to different countries to study, work or just for experiencing some years living abroad.

Such is the case with young UK families who decide to move to Ibiza for few years while their kids are young so that they can grow up in a small city surrounded by the nature, learn a different language and enjoy warm weather during the whole year.

On the island we have some good English teaching schools that are a good option for those parents who also find an English-speaking community that welcomes them.

Those parents prior to their move to Ibiza, often agree to return to the UK once the kids are a bit older so that they can finish their studies in England.

New EU Divorce Procedure - Beware falling into hidden pitfalls

However sometimes before they return to their country such couples decide to divorce or just change their plans on where they want to live. At that point, concerns can arise about where they should start their divorce petition and whether they should return to their country of origin in order to get support from their own families.

The first thing to be aware of is that child custody and divorce petition can be dealt jointly or separately.

Secondly – and something that many are unaware of - is that moving back to your country of origin with your kids - without the consent of the other parent - might be a crime.

While a divorce petition can be submitted in different countries depending on your case, when we speak about child custody we must take into account that only a Court in the country where the children have their ordinary residence may hear a custody claim and make a decision according to the Council Regulation (EU) No. 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003, also known as “Brussels II bis”.


Divorce petitions on the other hand – according to Council Regulation (EU) No. 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 - fixes a list of potential countries in which a Court may be entitled to hear the case: New EU Divorce Procedure allows Courts of the Member State in whose territory the spouses are habitually resident, or where the respondent is habitually resident, where the spouses were last habitually resident, etc.

Depending on the case, the Courts of more than one Member State could have competence for hearing a divorce petition; in those cases, the party filing the petition first will have an opportunity to choose the courts that will mostly benefit their position.

As the main consequences of your international divorce may strongly vary depending on the country where your case would be heard and the law used during the proceedings, it is recommended that you obtain expert advice as soon as you have the divorce in your mind in order to determine the best legal strategy for your family.

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