The impact of Brexit on divorce & family law: As the UK prepares to leave the EU tonight, 31 January 2020 at 11.59pm we are still none the wiser what the impact on family law will be.
It is concerning that we are still waiting for up-to-date guidance (to the best of our knowledge) and know as little as we did when the article below was published on the 12 March 2019.
It will be interesting to see what the next few weeks, months or years bring as the UK adapts to life post-divorce from the EU.
Below, we revisit an article on the potential impact of Brexit on divorce and family law
Whilst the government continues to argue about the size of the Brexit ‘divorce bill’ the potential impact remains unclear. And with no workable plan to address the significant problems that will arise in the family law legal system, it is a time of uncertainty for all family lawyers and their clients.
MPs are set to vote again tonight on Mrs May’s Brexit deal. Will the three new documents, which form part of the divorce, be enough to push her deal through parliament? With the EU making it clear there will be no more concessions, the stakes have never been higher.
As a family law practitioner, I am concerned about the potential impact on family law and my clients.
Our society today is a global one, with more and more families living internationally with different nationalities, dynamics and structures. This is reflected in the diverse cases we represent at the London Victoria office where we frequently work on matters of European cross-border disputes between parties concerning finances and children.
It is arguable that Britain’s decisions to leave the EU in 2016 was in part, brought about by the EU’s overreaching legislative aims with a global agenda.
However, it is wrong to suggest that no good has come from the UK’s membership within the EU, particularly in relation to family legislation. EU law has proved to provide greater certainty for separating families in the following areas:
- Recognition of divorce within other EU countries
- Recognition of children law within other EU countries
- Expedited child abduction proceedings
- Recognition and enforcement of maintenance orders within EU countries.
The Law Society guidance published on a no-deal Brexit on family law in October 2018 highlighted that EU treaties will cease to apply with immediate effect in the event of no-deal Brexit and co-operation between the UK and EU will end.
The ceasing of EU treaties will directly impact on many families currently relying on EU legislation to enforce orders abroad, recognition of divorce proceedings which may either originate in the UK or another EU country or at worst the return of abducted children.
No deal will also lead to a reliance on international law, such as The Hague Convention.
When advising my clients, I ask them to consider the impact of Brexit when considering where and when and to issue proceedings, recognition of foreign orders and applications for maintenance enforcement before March 29.
The true extent of Brexit’s impact on divorce is still not yet known. Time will tell.