International Divorce: Avoiding Complications

International divorce is the term used when someone applies for a divorce in a different country from where they live.

This might be done for several reasons, such as working abroad, moving to a different country from their ex-partner, or being of a different nationality to their ex-partner.

Read this article for a simple guide on how to best avoid all of the common complications when getting an international divorce.

Get expert legal advice

The first step in getting an international divorce should be to seek legal advice from a lawyer that is familiar with that country.

It is important to get legal advice about international divorce due to different definitions of legal terms and different rules that exist in each country. Certain requirements and legal jargon will be virtually impossible to understand without a lawyer to advise you.

No matter where you live, you can expect expert advice on international divorce from recognised practices like Brodies LLP (click here to find out more about them). Be well informed from the get-go and avoid complications.

Am I allowed to get a divorce here?

Nowadays, in most countries, you can get a divorce wherever either you or your ex-partner currently reside, provided that the marriage is recognised there.

It is important to research the recognition of your marriage in the country that you are attempting to get a divorce in. For example, if you are in a same marriage that is recognised in England, this may not be the case in other countries. If this is the case, a divorce will not be possible in that country.

How to get divorced in another country

The first step towards getting divorced in any country is having a marriage that is legally recognised there. This step is simple for most people, and this means you are halfway there. However, same couples or people in civil partnerships may need to research this one further.

However, the next step is where it can get much more tricky.

A court in the country that you are choosing to divorce in only has the legal authority to divorce you if you can prove a connection to that country. This means that there must be a link between you or your ex-partner and the country in question.

Although it is different in every country, the typical ‘links’ that might be accepted as a connection to grant jurisdiction are:

Nationality – if you are a national of the country that you wish to get divorced in, that connection is enough. You can become a national through birth, marriage or adoption.

Habitual residency – you are a ‘habitual resident’ of a country if you live there regularly. It does not have to be your permanent home, but you must spend a significant amount of time there, have a job, property or a car there. The list is exhaustive.

Domiciled – to be ‘domiciled’ somewhere, it must be your permanent home. This can be proved by birth, dependency, owning property there or being a national of that country.


Remember, the laws around divorce vary significantly around the world. You must do research about the laws in the country you are planning on getting a divorce in first.

By planning, you can have a trouble-free experience.