When a marriage breaks down it is a sad time for all involved, and can be particularly difficult if one partner is not a British Citizen. There are number of things that will be affected by this, and the best thing to do – as with any divorce – is to seek specialist advice from a divorce solicitor, like our team at Tayntons, who can advise you as to the best course of action.
Separation or Divorce?
There are three possible routes to take when a couple’s relationship has broken down:
- Informal separation. This is where the couple choose to live apart, but have no formal arrangement put in place to delineate the terms of their separation. Often this can only work if things are amicable.
- Separation with a separation agreement. This is when a couple chooses to have a solicitor draw up an official document detailing the specifics of their separation; for example financial arrangements, or contact arrangements for any children involved.
- Divorce. The ‘official’ ending of a marriage, which enables either party to then remarry at a later date.
If one partner is not a British Citizen, then even if you choose an informal separation, or a separation by agreement, you may need to inform certain authorities. Whom you inform would depend upon the country of origin of the non-British partner, and whether that was within or without the European Economic Area.
Either separation or divorce could affect the non-British partner’s right to remain in the UK. It is possible that if you have been married for more than two years – and the non-British partner is from outside the EEA – they can apply for the right to remain in the UK, depending on their eligibility.
Where should we File Divorce Proceedings?
You might think that just because you got married in a particular country – whether the UK, your partner’s home country, or a third country as part of a ‘destination wedding perhaps – that you must also file for divorce in that country. This is not so. Depending on where you and/or your partner have lived and are living, you may be able to apply for a divorce in either home country, or that in which you have lived.
If the separation is particularly acrimonious then time may be of the essence. Again, this would depend upon the potential countries in which you and/or your partner may begin divorce proceedings. For example, if you have had children together, and raised them in the UK but your partner has retained citizenship of their home country, you may be concerned about the possibility of abduction. The legalities of child contact may well depend upon which country divorce proceedings take place.
Generally speaking, if you and your partner can remain amicable, a separation and divorce will be less painful, but at Tayntons we know how difficult that can be, and we promise to deal with all our clients with kindness and discretion.