How the UK-EU divorce could impact divorcees

The Law Society has issued guidance for its members on the effect of a no-deal Brexit on family law. The future is unclear, and the UK faces a loss of protection for some vulnerable parties, including the victims of domestic violence.

The president of the Society, Christina Blacklaws, told the Law Gazette last month that “there is little doubt that resolving disputes will become much more complex and much more costly.”

On the subject of divorce, the Law Society predicts that after a no-deal Brexit, unless the states involved in a multi-national case are members of the Hague Convention on divorce, there could be conflicts of jurisdiction and parallel proceedings, which would be more expensive for the parties involved.

Currently, if you are the victim of domestic violence or harassment, and a national court has issued a civil law protection order in your favour, this will be recognised and enforced anywhere in the EU. The UK plans to repeal the Regulation which controls this, and it is unclear what the government intends to do to ensure UK judgments are respected in other EU states post-Brexit.

It is possible that the UK could negotiate deals with individual EU states on family law matters, but this will require the authorisation of the European Commission. The UK has also disclosed that it intends to negotiate a treaty with the EU on issues relating to civil justice and cooperation in family law, which the Law Society has stated it would encourage.

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