Expat Divorce

A recent case involving a British Expat and an Ethiopian national has underlined the risks of dealing with an international case without having expert support.

The British husband who was based in Indonesia issued divorce proceedings in England on the basis of his sole domicile, (presumably) believing that this would be straightforward and not expose him to a maintenance claim by his Ethiopian wife.

Ordinarily, it is not possible to claim maintenance in England where jurisdiction for the divorce is based solely on the domicile of one party. However, due to a number of procedural errors by the husband (his legal team), he was deemed to have consented to the English Court having jurisdiction to deal with maintenance and, therefore, exposed himself to some of the most generous maintenance provisions in the world. This was particularly unfortunate when “maintenance” can include capital payments, pension sharing and property orders to meet needs, including for housing and retirement.

This is clearly a case where the husband would have been better off dealing with matters in Indonesia and highlight the perils of not taking advice from an international divorce specialist.

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