I will be attending the annual meeting of the International Academy of Family Lawyers in Reykjavik this week, where I will be meeting and learning from leading family lawyers throughout the world.

Almost every area of family law can have an international aspect to it, including: the financial awards that can be made upon divorce; disputes about which parent a child should live with and whether a parent should be allowed to move to another country with a child; international child abduction; surrogacy; adoption; and pre-nuptial agreements, particularly where the husband or wife are if differing nationalities or are likely to spend time in different countries now or in the future.

International family lawyers have a detailed knowledge of the various international laws, treaties and conventions that regulate matters such as how to enforce foreign family law orders from another country, or the competition between two countries’ legal systems as to which should rule in the event of a dispute between husband and wife. We also need a working knowledge of the idiosyncrasies of different countries’ legal systems and practices that can catch out the unwary client, particularly as the level of financial award made on divorce can vary dramatically between countries.

International family law is an ever evolving subject, with Brexit being the latest development to change the international landscape.

Although we live in an increasingly mobile society, many people do not realise the significance of international family law until it is too late. While it is always wise to take early advice from a family lawyer when a relationship starts to get into trouble, it is even more important to take advice from an expert in international family law in the event there are signs of trouble in a relationship where either party has moved to another country during the relationship or after their separation; or even if they are just of different nationalities.