When a couple’s finances come to be divided as part of divorce proceedings then each party must disclose to the other details of all the property, land and buildings that they have an interest in. This includes property, land and buildings located abroad. Sometimes people believe that because they have say, a holiday home in Spain or land in Pakistan, that property is outside of the jurisdiction of the Courts of this country and it cannot be touched by their estranged spouse.
In our Courts, a Judge who is asked to determine a dispute concerning financial matters will look at all the resources that are available to both parties, whether those resources are located at home or abroad. It therefore follows that yes, a claim can be brought against property, land or buildings that are located abroad.
It does not necessarily follow that such a claim will be successful. For example, if the property abroad is owned by the husband and he bought it prior to the marriage or pre-marital cohabitiation, it has never been used as an asset of the family and the couple are reasonably well off then the Judge might allow the property abroad to be classed as “non-matrimonial property”. The usual principle of sharing does not necessarily apply to non-matrimonial property when the parties’ needs can be met from the other available assets.
In the event that the Judge does make an order that one party should receive some funds from the property abroad and the only way those funds can be paid is if the property is sold then consideration needs to be given to which country the property is located in and whether that particular country will recognise the Court order granted here. In the event that the country concerned refuses to recognise the order made in this country, significant difficulties can be encountered in forcing the property to be sold so that the equity can be realised. Enforcing a Court order abroad is always going to be a costly and time consuming exercise and expert advice should be obtained.
If you are going through a separation and there is property located abroad then you should speak to a Solicitor. In the event that the property abroad is the most valuable asset in the case and it is located in a country that is not going to recognise an order made in this country then you will need to consider whether it is possible for you to start Court proceedings in that country instead to ensure that there are no difficulties in implementing the eventual financial order.
Contact our Divorce Solicitors in Birmingham
For more advice concerning this or any other family law issues, contact Sultan Lloyd Solicitors on 01212482850 to arrange an appointment to discuss your case.