Advice Centre

International Assets in Financial Remedy Proceedings

Posted by:
Posted in: Divorce, Family and children
Date published: 29/12/2023

Speak to a member of our specialist international team of UK family lawyers today on 0330 107 0107.


In Family Law, the handling of international assets is becoming a regular consideration for courts when deciding the division of assets on the breakdown of a civil partnership or marriage. At IMD, the Family Law Team frequently represents clients in cases where assets are spread across multiple countries and, as a result, has developed extensive experience in the field.

Legal Framework and the Court’s Role in International Asset Case

A common misconception among parties, particularly those that are self-representing, is that the English and Welsh courts cannot deal with assets located outside of the jurisdiction. This belief is often unfounded as we believe the law acknowledges the increasingly global nature of couple’s financial assets. By means of Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, our courts have the jurisdiction to consider all the financial resources in which a party may have an interest, regardless of their location in the world, when seeking to achieve fairness as between the parties.

Although there may be practical difficulties in enforcing orders made by a court in this jurisdiction in foreign jurisdictions, our courts do not simply ignore them. Instead, they tend to assess their value and availability to the parties and include them in the computation of the assets that are available for division between the parties. If issues of enforceability do arise, it is often best to obtain a legal opinion from a suitably qualified individual in the relevant jurisdiction so that this can be weighed in the balance when the court is considering the appropriate division of the assets and orders to make. However, where the value of assets allows the courts often provide one party with a greater share of the assets in this jurisdiction if the other person has assets in another country.

Real-Life Cases: Balancing Assets in England and Poland

In two recent cases at IMD, the Family Team has dealt with couples who had property and business assets in England and Poland. In one of the cases, the respondent (who was self-representing) asserted that the English court did not have the jurisdiction to consider the Polish assets at all. Unfortunately, this resulted in some delay in a settlement being reached as the respondent refused to accept that they were wrong about that. Ultimately, it took an English Judge to make clear to the respondent that they could consider those assets and a settlement was then reached. Our client was pleased with a settlement that allowed her to retain the family home in England and most of the assets in this jurisdiction, whilst the respondent retained the assets in Poland.

In the other case, and in which both parties were represented, a settlement was reached that divided property and business assets in England and Poland between the parties in equal shares. Both parties accepted that the English and Welsh Court could consider the foreign assets when seeking to achieve fairness as between the parties, which facilitated a settlement between them.

Key Insights

Jurisdictional Understanding: English and Welsh courts can consider assets in foreign jurisdictions when deciding the financial settlement on a divorce/dissolution.

  • Court Orders: there may be issues in terms of enforceability of English and Welsh court orders in the foreign jurisdiction and expert advice may be needed in that regard. However, the English and Welsh courts can make orders as against parties themselves to deal with the foreign assets in a particular manner and/or, where possible, provide one party with a greater share of the assets in this jurisdiction if the foreign assets are not available to them.
  • Equitable Distribution: the English and Welsh Courts aim to achieve fairness between the parties and can be creative in the way they divide the assets between the parties and the orders they make.

Additional Considerations

The jurisdiction in which the relevant assets are located can have an impact on the best jurisdiction in which to issue applications for divorce and the resulting financial settlement. It is crucial for clients to consider where to initiate proceedings, if more than one jurisdiction is available, for the most advantageous outcome.

At IMD Solicitors, we always advise clients to seek expert advice in relation to these issues, as early as possible, to ensure they can start off on the best footing. Our clients have found that our proficiency across various legal jurisdictions positions us perfectly to guide them through what can often be a very complicated process.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.

To find out more about our services, visit Financial issues and Settlements section of our website.

Call us now to discuss your case 0330 107 0107 or email us at

Published by:

James Legg – Barrister

Family Law – IMD Solicitors LLP

Call now to discuss your case: 0330 107 0107
Request a call back Mon - Fri: 9am -5:30pm

Awards and Accreditations