Jurisdiction for petitions for divorce and judicial separation
Produced in partnership with David Salter, deputy High Court judge and Recorder
Jurisdiction for petitions for divorce and judicial separation

The following Family practice note produced in partnership with David Salter, deputy High Court judge and Recorder provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Jurisdiction for petitions for divorce and judicial separation
  • Jurisdiction for divorce and judicial separation on or after 1 January 2021
  • Competing jurisdictions
  • Marriage of same-sex couples
  • Jurisdiction for divorce and judicial separation prior to 1 January 2021

11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020 marked the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period entered into following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. At this point in time (referred to in UK law as ‘IP completion day’), key transitional arrangements came to an end and significant changes took effect across the UK’s legal regime. This has implications for practitioners considering which courts have jurisdiction in relation to divorce and judicial separation. For further guidance, see Practice Notes: Brexit and family law, What does IP completion day mean for family law? and Brexit—jurisdiction and family proceedings.

Where more than one country may have jurisdiction to hear divorce proceedings, care should be taken to determine which may be the most advantageous jurisdiction for the client. Advice should be taken from a lawyer in the other jurisdiction or jurisdictions as to the likely outcome of proceedings on finances or children issues. Time may be of the essence in commencing proceedings where there are competing jurisdictions. See: Competing jurisdictions.

This Practice Note primarily sets out guidance as to Jurisdiction for divorce and judicial separation on or after 1 January 2021, but also the position prior to IP completion day, ie: Jurisdiction for divorce and judicial separation prior to 1 January 2021.

Jurisdiction for divorce and judicial separation on or after 1 January 2021

From 1 January 2021 the courts in England and

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