These days it isn’t just senior business executives or celebrity movie stars who have interests overseas. It is not uncommon for couples to get married abroad, live or work abroad or have property overseas. When these relationships breakdown, you need specialist advice about how to proceed.

Unsurprisingly, family law is not consistent throughout the world. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to issue divorce proceedings in another country. We call this “forum shopping”. You may find that you and your spouse cannot agree which country is appropriate and there may be significant financial advantages to choosing one over another.

For example, the financial outcome on divorce is very different in England and Scotland. In England and Wales pre-marriage assets can still be shared on divorce. In Scotland these do not form part of the property to be divided except for the family home. In England and Wales inheritances and gifts can be shared on divorce particularly where there is no other alternative and the assets are limited. In Scotland these are generally excluded.

In England and Wales, the court can order spousal maintenance for a fixed term or until retirement, death or remarriage (known as “joint lives”). In Scotland maintenance will last for a maximum of 3 years. The differences between two jurisdictions is astonishing considering our links in so many other ways. It tends to be the same throughout the world.