The increasing globalisation over the last decade has resulted in a large increase in international relationships and marriages. Professional career challenges often form the basis for deciding to move abroad. Mainly destinations such as the United States, Africa, the United Arab Emirates (including Abu Dhabi and Dubai), Singapore and Hong Kong are popular as new home bases. In Dubai for example, almost 80% of the population consists of expats.
It is mainly the children’s place of residence and the relocation of the parties' assets that lead to painful conflicts between the spouses when parties are involved in an international divorce.
By being proactive and seeking information abroad prior to departure also helps you make the right decisions and avoid future conflicts.
Assistance from an attorney specialising in international family law is of crucial importance if no arrangements have been made prior to departure and discussions between the parties are already under way.
Many expat separations end up becoming messy because the consequences of the divorce are so much more complicated than divorces without international aspects.
On the one hand this is often because one of the spouses chooses to return to their home country, which in turn raises discussions between the parents about where the children should live. The children either have to move to the home country, or remain in the expat country. It also happens that the parent who fears losing the children perpetrates parental child abduction.
Specific expertise in expart divorces
But there are many other aspects that make expat divorces more difficult. For example, an arrangement has to be made regarding the maintenance of the children, or either of the spouses. Furthermore, settlement has to be made regarding any pension rights that have been accrued, as well as the settlement and distribution of the matrimonial property where the possessions and assets (bank accounts, insurance policies, securities portfolios, property) of the parties are often located in different countries.
This issue must be presented before a competent court and applicable law. Legislation in the home country and the expat country, as well as international law (treaties, regulations, etc.,) all play a role in this.
Over the years, Keyser attorneys in Antwerp has acquired specific expertise in the context of dealing with international files and has a worldwide network enabling it to assist and guide clients efficiently and effectively wherever they are located.