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International family law

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Family legal advice across international borders

There has been a steady rise in families moving and marrying abroad and as a result, in the event of a relationship breakdown, complications may arise due to the differences in family law between two or more countries. Those issues may involve cross jurisdictional divorces, financial settlements, and the international movement of children.

Royds Withy King Family Department are highly recommended in the “The Times Best Law Firms” 2019 survey

We have experience of both Hague Convention and non-Hague Convention cases but it is vital that early advice is sought on these issues.

We have legal connections around the world

We are highly experienced in advising clients on foreign elements in family matters. Our lawyers have worked closely with firms in over 20 jurisdictions to ensure that their clients achieved the best outcome. We have excellent links with foreign members of the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL) to ensure that you have access to the best advice. We are also a member of Interleges which enables the firm to work with lawyers across the world on matters that may require international expertise.

We are members of Interleges, which means we are part of a network of world-class international lawyers.

We understand how different countries’ laws can affect your outcome

It is necessary to have extensive knowledge of international law when advising clients who have lived or married abroad or may have assets such as a property in another country. Careful thought and advice will need to be given in relation to which jurisdiction would be best to carry out divorce proceedings or proceedings relating to children. It is essential to issue proceedings in the correct country to ensure that you can achieve the best possible financial settlement and to ensure that you can enforce any order made.

We know what to do if a child is moved from a country without permission

We also advise on the many international issues relevant to children and we have expertise in the international relocation of children. If you wish to move or travel abroad with your child or maybe you wish to prevent a child from being taken abroad then we can help. We also advise on international child abduction to include when a child is taken or retained abroad without consent or when a child is brought to this country without consent.

Frequently asked questions about international family law

My wife / husband has moved abroad, can I start divorce proceedings here?

You may be able to do so, provided certain criteria are met and provided no divorce proceedings have already been started abroad.  If you are concerned that your wife / husband may start proceedings abroad and you would prefer for your divorce to be dealt with in England, it is very important that you contact us urgently.  Issuing proceedings in the correct jurisdiction is essential in financial proceedings to ensure the client can achieve the best possible financial settlement, and practical matters such as attendance at hearings abroad and the language in which proceedings will be conducted must not be overlooked.

My partner has taken our children abroad and refuses to return to the UK. Can I get them back?

A lot will depend on where your children have been taken.  We can advise on international child abduction to include when a child is taken or retained abroad without consent or when a child is brought to this country without consent.  We have experience of both Hague Convention and non-Hague Convention cases.  It is vital that early advice is sought on these issues.

I would like to move abroad with our children but my ex partner would not agree to their relocation. Do I need his consent?

In order to remove a child from England & Wales on a permanent basis you will need the consent of every person who has parental responsibility for that child.  We can advise you on how to obtain that consent both out of Court and by issuing proceedings.

I am in two minds about starting divorce proceedings in England or abroad. Can you advise me about my options?

We are only authorised to advise on the basis of the law of England & Wales.  However, we are highly experienced in advising clients on foreign elements in family matters and we are a member of Interleges which enables this firm to work with lawyers across the world on matters that may require the expertise of a solicitor in a different legal system.

The Family Team's Credentials

What the team is known for: Highly experienced at taking on financial remedy cases. Focuses on settling issues through collaboration or mediation where possible, and through litigation if necessary. Active representing guardians in public law care proceedings. Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): “They are highly skilled and committed professionals who work incredibly hard and diligently for their clients.” “They provided an excellent service in a very straightforward and non-technical way.” Notable practitioners: Richard Ellis (Band 2) enjoys a strong reputation for his public children expertise, and is also skilled at taking on matrimonial finance cases. He is hailed by one commentator as “phenomenally good and a great advocate.” Sharon MacDonald (Band 3) frequently represents high net worth clients on alternative dispute resolution proceedings, such as mediation and collaborative law, associated with complicated finance matters. One client reports: “She was very thorough – all the paperwork was correct down to the minutest detail. She obtained a wonderful result for me.” Jon Toogood (Eminent Practitioner) handles matrimonial finance issues in the context of divorce cases, and is a skilled arbitrator and collaborative lawyer. One client praises his “excellent technical knowledge, very good commercial awareness and very good bedside manner.” Katherine Lauder is a Recognised Practitioner.” Chambers 2017 South West

“What the team is known for: Well-known team in the Oxford market, with substantial experience in divorce and financial remedy matters involving complex assets. Also advises on public law children cases, including those involving allegations of non-accidental injury. Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): “A really good outfit, and universally likeable.” Notable practitioners: Mark Phillips (Band 3) is experienced advising in divorce and financial remedy matters, especially those involving complex assets such as pensions and business interests. One source says of him: “He is very intellectually able, and has a pleasant, persuasive way about him.” Head of the Oxfordshire family team Simon Bassett (Band 3) is particularly active in matrimonial finance cases. One source reports: “I’ve been really impressed with his ability to think creatively around the financial cases, and to look for solutions that aren’t obvious.”” Chambers 2017 Oxford and Surrounds

“Royds Withy King is ‘one of Bath’s leading family law firms’ for collaborative law and mediation, and department head Richard Ellis has ‘a fantastic reputation’ in care proceedings. Also recommended are Sharon MacDonald and Jon Toogood, and newly promoted senior associates Katherine Lauder and Rebecca Stevens.” Legal 500 2016 South West

Simon Bassett is ‘a consistent high performer, particularly in matrimonial finance’. Legal 500 2016 South East

Contact us for a free, no obligation chat and we can begin the process and start to help you today.