Whether you can divorce in England and Wales will depend upon your status of ‘domicile’ and ‘habitual residence’. The English Courts have the jurisdiction to deal with your divorce under English law if any one of the following applies to you:
- You and your spouse/civil partner are both habitually resident in England or Wales;
- You and your spouse/civil partner were habitually resident England or Wales and one of you still lives in England or Wales;
- The respondent (i.e. the person not filing for a divorce) is habitually resident in England or Wales;
- The Petitioner (i.e. the person filing for a divorce) is habitually resident in England or Wales and has been living there for at least one year immediately before the petition is issued
- The Petitioner is domiciled in England or Wales and has been living there for at least six months immediately before the petition is issued
- The Petitioner and the Respondent are both domiciled in England or Wales
- Or if (but only if) no court of an EU contracting state has jurisdiction under EU law (Brussels II revised);
- The Petitioner or the Respondent is domiciled in England or Wales on the date when the petition is issued.
A person’s domicile is often described as the place where an individual has their closest ties. A person can only take domicile in one country at a time. A person will have a domicile of origin which is acquired at birth and that person will retain that domicile unless they adopt another country as their domicile i.e. domicile of choice.
There are a number of important factors that a Court will take into account when determining a person’s domicile including where a person lives and work and what their financial arrangements are.
A person’s habitual residence is considered to be the place where they reside regularly on a voluntary basis with an intention to settle there for a significant period of time. For the purpose of establishing jurisdiction, a person can only be habitually resident in one place at a time.
To discuss whether you are eligible to divorce in England and Wales please contact our family law specialists so that they may assess your case on.