The High Court has declined jurisdiction in a multinational divorce involving a British man and his Chinese wife living in Amsterdam.
In Divall v Divall, the couple had met in Germany and married in the UK. Initial plans to live in Amsterdam were delayed when the wife was unable to obtain a work permit. The couple set up home in the UK. The wife was granted a spousal visa and eventually took British citizenship.
After the couple’s children were born, however, they finally moved to the Netherlands, buying a home in Amsterdam while keeping one in England. Unfortunately, the marriage quickly unravelled in the new country and the wife began a new relationship.
The husband returned to the UK and filed for divorce, arguing that the former couple were both still domiciled (resident for legal purposes) over here so divorce proceedings should take place in the English courts.
The wife, meanwhile, filed her own petition in the Netherlands, insisted that that legal domicile was now the Netherlands.
Mr Justice Moor ruled in her favour at the High Court. The family had left the UK permanently, he concluded, to start a new life in Amsterdam, and so the English courts had no jurisdiction in the case.