Recognition of overseas divorce or dissolution of civil partnership
Recognition of overseas divorce or dissolution of civil partnership

The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Recognition of overseas divorce or dissolution of civil partnership
  • Introduction
  • Brussels II bis
  • Family Law Act 1986
  • The recognition of foreign orders
  • Recognition of foreign orders obtained in formal proceedings
  • Recognition of foreign orders obtained other than within proceedings
  • Refusal of recognition of foreign orders
  • Orders in relation to civil partnerships

This Practice Note is impacted by the exit of the UK from the EU on 31 January 2020. This has implications for practitioners considering which courts have jurisdiction to determine a dispute. For guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit and family law. This Practice Note sets out the current position on the recognition of overseas divorce or dissolution of civil partnership.

Introduction

The recognition of foreign termination of a marriage is determined by the Family Law Act 1986 (FLA 1986) and Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility (Brussels II bis).

In relation to civil partnerships, the provisions of sections 234–238 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA 2004) extend the recognition of foreign orders (including Denmark) to civil partnerships together with the provisions of the Civil Partnership (Supplementary Provisions relating to the Recognition of Overseas Dissolutions, Annulments or Legal Separations) (England and Wales and Northern Ireland) Regulations 2005, SI 2005/3104. The CPA 2004 provisions include overseas relationships formed prior to the 5 December 2005 that meet the requirements of CPA 2004, ss 214–218, notwithstanding that prior to that date there was no provision in the law of England and Wales to recognise civil partnerships or an overseas equivalent relationship. See: Orders in