Brexit and England’s divorce laws explained

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I will have been separated from my husband for two years in April 2019. We had been married for five years before we separated.

We were married in the UK and both still live in the UK.

I had previously taken legal advice about applying for a divorce and when I had discussed the options I decided I wanted to rely on the ground of two years separation as this seemed the most amicable.

I am worried that as we will not have been separated for two years until after March 29, Brexit might affect me applying for a divorce, a friend of mine told me that we follow EU law for divorces.

The law which governs divorce in England and Wales is national law, meaning it is our own law in England and Wales, certain elements of EU law do currently play a role in UK family law, however, for the most part each member state has its own law to follow.

Brexit may have an impact on certain aspects of family law, however, practitioners do not anticipate Brexit having an impact on your ability to apply for a divorce after March 29, and it is not thought that the procedure will change.

The grounds that you can rely on including two years separation are also governed by national law and so again we do not anticipate these being effected by Brexit.

There are five potential grounds you can rely upon, two years separation is a consent based ground and so to rely on this your husband would need to consent to the divorce, this will not change following Brexit.

Either party to the marriage can apply for the divorce and for an English court to have jurisdiction to deal with the matter the same rules as before will still apply, namely that either both you and your husband, or one of you must be habitually resident in the UK at the time of making the application, meaning that you are resident in the UK or your interests are centred here.

Brexit will undoubtedly be a time of change and uncertainty for the UK, however, the suggestion so far is that England and Wales will continue to rely on the laws we have done for many years for divorce matters.

Ben Hoare Bell LLP has many specialist family law solicitors. To speak to a solicitor please phone 0191 565 3112 or email advice@benhoarebell.co.uk.

Visit www.benhoarebell.co.uk for further information.