Family law experts are encouraging people to act now on their family legal matters ahead of the Brexit transition period ending on 31 December.

Anyone who might be affected by international family law issues around divorce, child maintenance or child custody is being urged to consider their position and begin proceedings before the deadline.

This includes people who want to divorce in the UK when one party lives abroad and those where some or all of the marital assets are not based in the UK.

Parents looking to claim maintenance for their children when their ex lives abroad and those who have children living outside the UK and are being prevented from seeing them will
also be affected.

Hannah Bridgwood, an associate solicitor and family law expert at national law firm Clarke Willmott LLP, said:

“Being a member of the EU meant that international issues around divorce and children could be dealt with relatively easily as the UK had signed up to Treaties (EU Law) with EU
member states to enable any decisions made by the UK Court to be recognised and enforceable abroad.

“When the Brexit implementation period officially ends at 11pm on 31 December 2020 this arrangement will come to an end.

“The Government has attempted to address these issues but at the moment their efforts remain untested and only after 31 December 2020 will we know whether the provisions made
are effective. At the moment it is unchartered territory leading to added uncertainty.”

Hannah says to avoid uncertainty and a potential backlog of cases following the deadline, families should aim to issue proceedings or take steps to enforce orders before the cut off.

She said: “We have been assured that any proceedings or orders issued and made in the UK Courts before 31 December 2020 will be dealt with in the usual way, with EU law still
applying, and will continue to be recognised and enforceable in the EU.

“However, after 31 December 2020, divorces made in the UK are no longer guaranteed to be recognised by foreign jurisdictions and it will be necessary to make enquiries of the
relevant jurisdiction directly and to take the appropriate action.

“Therefore, people may be at an advantage by applying for the UK Courts to have jurisdiction over their matter and to guarantee this they may need to issue proceedings now.

“Foreign divorces from outside the UK will continue to be recognised in the UK after 31 December 2020.”

Clarke Willmott specialises in family law with international issues. The firm’s team of specialist family lawyers work across all of the regional offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Southampton and Taunton.

If these issues affect your family or to gather more information you can contact Hannah directly on 0345 209 1698 or at

For more information about Clarke Willmott visit

%d bloggers like this: