If you have been granted a divorce, legal separation or annulment outside the UK, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, you may be able to apply for financial relief in England and Wales under Part 3 of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984
The purpose of Part 3 of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 is to help people who have divorced overseas and received no or an inadequate financial provision and who have a substantial connection to England and Wales.
Your divorce, legal separation or annulment must be recognised as valid in England and Wales and you must not have remarried.
To apply for an order, you must meet one of the following requirements:
- At the time of the foreign decree, either party to the marriage was domiciled in England and Wales
- Either party to the marriage was habitually resident in England and Wales for one year prior to the application for leave or date of the foreign decree
- Either party to the marriage is entitled to a beneficial interest in a property in England and Wales that was once the matrimonial home
There are two stages to the application process
Stage 1- Apply to the court for permission
An application must be made for the court’s permission before a full, substantive application can be issued. The court must be satisfied that there is a substantial ground for making an application and the court will evaluate the merits of the case.
Stage 2 – Issue Application
Once permission has been granted to issue an application under Part 3 of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 the court will consider the substantive application.
The application will proceed as if the case were being dealt with under The Matrimonial Cases Act 1973.
The orders available to the court are the same for financial provision and property adjustment as those on divorce, nullity, or judicial separation under The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and the same for pension sharing on divorce or nullity.
The following orders are available to the court:
- Lump-sum orders
- Spousal political payments orders
- Property adjustment orders
- Sale of property orders
- Pension sharing
If jurisdiction for an application is based solely on the presence of a property in England and Wales that was the parties’ matrimonial home, the court will be limited to making a lump sum or property adjustment order in relation that asset.
The procedure for applying for a substantive order is the same as the procedure for applying for a financial remedy under The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.
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