Breaking up is hard to do: UK Family Law and its changing relationship with Europe

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We all look to the law for certainty and clear guidance. However, the onset of Brexit means that we have an ill-defined path as to how the UK’s domestic laws will operate in the areas where EU law currently exists and dominates.

 As a family lawyer, there are several key areas which are of concern to me, in particular with reference to how our divorce proceedings will be affected. Where EU law is removed, UK domestic legislation will need to follow and fill the gap, very swiftly, so as to avoid a “vacuum”.

Art 3 of Brussels 11a, known as the Brussels Regulation as to jurisdiction for starting divorce proceedings, is based on the habitual residence of both spouses being in England and Wales. As a test, it has generally  been fit for purpose, and 15 years since its introduction, it is difficult to imagine divorce law without it.

A related inevitable negative will be the slowing down (freezing?) of the campaign to introduce a “no fault” divorce. Where will be the energy and appetite for that fight when larger, sweeping issues about divorce will undoubtedly arise-?

The impact of Brexit may be (further) felt by many in terms of the fluctuating economic markets translating into lower pension values; falling property prices, and job insecurity. A feeling of a lack of confidence, alongside the practical realities, will propel us all through an unsettling time. Those experiencing a marriage or relationship break up are bound to feel even more vulnerable. None of us, lawyers or otherwise, can properly reality check the future until the aftermath of triggering Article 50 is fully experienced, nor indeed until 8th June 2017 has been and gone.

 However, the Family Team at BG are equipped to provide sensible, pragmatic advice, thus giving you clarity as to how to protect all that means the most to you. Please feel free to contact us on 01903 229999 or visit our website pages

 Article by Jackie Mensah, Associate Solicitor and Collaborative Lawyer


The information contained in this article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be legal advice. Professional advice should always be taken on the application of the law in any particular situation.