How are assets and property overseas dealt with if we divorce in England and the UK?
Dividing assets is complicated, but when said assets are in a different country, the process can be more drawn out and complex. There are several factors that come to prominence during these types of divorce cases, and they are:
- Time and cost
- Whether the property can be traced
- Whether or not the property held abroad is matrimonial property
It is always helpful to keep track of where assets are located, regardless of whether you anticipate a divorce further down the line or not. This can save a lot of time and money in locating them.
Some spouses may hide assets overseas to prevent their spouse from getting them, but this has a number of negative consequences. Firstly, as mentioned, it can prolong the proceedings and increase costs. Secondly it can also impact your case quite severely, affecting how much money you may receive in any settlement. Finally, in some cases, it can be seen as contempt of court and you can face a prison sentence.
In the event that overseas assets are located, they can form part of the Financial Order issued by The Courts. However, even if this is the case, it may not always be possible to retrieve them, even with an Enforcement Order. This is because the Courts in the overseas country may not uphold said order.
In the division of assets, spouses have more of an entitlement to any property that is classed as ‘matrimonial property’. This was described as “the financial product of both parties’ common endeavour” by Lord Nicholls in White v White. These assets include any money made during the marriage, and assets ‘enjoyed’ during the marriage, such as a family home.
If anything was obtained by one spouse before the marriage, then it is unlikely to be considered matrimonial property and may be excluded from proceedings.
It is vital that you seek the assistance of professional solicitors before you enter into these proceedings. Goodwins Family Law Solicitors are vastly experienced in all aspects of divorce and international divorce law, and as such we are perfectly placed to offer our assistance in divorce and family law matters.
If you would like to know more, please get in touch with us today and we will be more than happy to help.
You can learn more about finances in divorce in our guide.